Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't go off half cocked.

I went down south Sunday (since It was a 3-day weekend, Mrs Farmpunk didn't mind me playing twice this week.) I had resolved to play a variation on the new Light Infantry force. I outlined here:

I got a mortar in the Co. Command, and a Regimental Standard... not that it mattered a lot. snipers would have helped me in the carnage that was to come...
My side of the field, a platoon, Co. Com, and Inquisitor Lord

I faced off against a great guy, Mate. Mate and I had played back in December, just before I started logging battle reports. Once we started pulling out models, I remembered his hive fleet, and the nasty fight with my GK list we had. The GrandMaster flexed his old school Force Weapon muscles that game. (which ironically, he usually did enough outright wounds to kill the couple of CC fexes he fought.)

this time, the 'nids were more geared to shoot something. There was a mean Dakka Flyrant, 3 Zoanthropes, 3 Shooty 'fexes, a Broodlord and retinue, shooty warriors, and 2 Stealer squads to round out.
The 'nid side of the field, with Harker back in a corner.

I knew this would be a tough fight for the IG. I was wishing I'd brought 12 Lascannons. or at least a few Russes.

It was Pitched Battle (good for me), and Annihilation (fair for me) I won to go first, and infiltrate last. both good. If I could hit anything. Shelia moved the Brrodlord out of cover, for good 1st turn shooting. I LOOKED scary.

Then I whiffed, and underwhelmed. having 2+ armor on the fexes, and Zoanthropes didn't help a lot either. I'd been counting on Missile Launchers to deal with some large targets.

The first turn was underwhelming. The start of the Second turn, most stuff came on, thanks to the Astropath. At least HE worked well. The Fleet officer, was unappreciated, and took the Astropath out for drinks when it came time for outflanking re-rolls. only one squad of the 4 (I combined the missile launcher and lascannon squads) came in on the side I wanted.

If I had been able to fire any of my Heavy Weapons, I would have been golden. I couldn't, and I suffered. At the start of the 3rd turn, when he started getting to my troops, it was going to be over soon. At the start of the 4th turn, I called it. I was getting schooled in 'good touch / BAD TOUCH! BAD TOUCH!' tyranid style.

So what did I learn?
  • when playing Infantry IG, it's good to have the force pre-set in your foam, for easier, much faster setup.
  • I need to buy big bases for my Heavy Weapon Teams. They are a single model now. I'm thinking of magnetizing the loader to represent the extra wound.
  • Harker is nice. I liked what he could do. I will use him in the future.
  • Captain Al'Raheem sorely disappointed me. maybe if they'd been in chimera, with only special weapons, for hitting objectives. I probably will not use him again, which is too bad.
  • I kept wishing I had a few tanks during the whole battle. even my 2 russes and Basilisk would have helped tremendously. I kept thinking 'if only I had the 2 medusa and griffon squadron.'
  • Sheila isn't effective vs. nids. she shines vs. Eldar, IG, Tau, orks. She does decent vs. Marines. She nees to be able to hit fire support or Leadership, which is what I try to use her for.
  • Marbo might have been overkill. He's got uses, like Shelia, but this was not a good day for him.
  • Orders for an Inquisitor Lord Dakka Squad are gold. especially making the opponent re-roll cover saves. Mmmm. death-y goodness.
  • I also like the combination of going to ground, and then Get back in the fight.
  • I also learned I don't need to use flash on the camera, a well lit room is good.

So is All-infantry dead? no. I don't think so. This experiment went very badly. I tried an army made on a theme from the old codex. If it were infiltrators, it would be different. In my old list, they infiltrated, and got to use their Heavy weapons first turn.
I feel all infantry now might be better served by 2-3 squads in the platoon hving only special weapons, and the other 2-3 having special and heavy weapons. Maybe Heavy weapon and sniper rifles. I think Heavy weapon squads might be where it's at for taking things out. Anchor them on a cheap cannoness with a Book of St. Lucius, or a Comissar Lord, and the several HW Squads will serve you well. Orders are more effective to HWSquads.
I can see the effectiveness of Creed/Kell in an Infantry force. Perhaps even Chenkov. There will be a LOT of guys in a big clump on one side of the board.

When I have 200+ Steel Legion/tallarn/praetorians I'll try again. I will probably have to borrow guys from Sandwyrm to pull off proper Infantry tactics.

Get Your Armor Up Front And Say Hello! (Re-Written)

One of the most appealing things, if not the most appealing thing, about playing Imperial Guard is all the cool tank options we have now. The new codex contains no less than 19 major and minor types of armored vehicle. Which really is a tread-head's dream. And given what I see as the general trend towards more and more mechanized lists in competitive 40K, all those options should serve the Guard player quite well at tournaments.

However, as I've transitioned my old infantry-heavy force over to a mostly-mechanized one, I've also been concentrating on how to play my armor better. And one of the things that's become more and more obvious to me lately as I improve my tactics is that most non-Meq 40k players don't have a clue how to use their tanks. I played a Tau force recently that had the ability to hurt me in an objective mission, but he was timid with his armor. And so I crushed him when I should have had a real battle on my hands. Later that night, I watched as an IG player was setting up for an annihilation mission with a spearhead deployment vs. Necrons. He lost that battle before a single die was rolled by putting his Russ (with bolter sponsons, snow plow, and heavy stubber) in the rear and sending his infantry forward to fight the T-800s.

Why is that bad? Let's consider, for a moment, the history of the tank.

The first tanks were invented during World War One as a way to break the stalemate on the Western Front. Due to the advent of heavy artillery and the machine gun, the war had bogged down into trench fighting, where hordes of infantry and mounted cavalry would be cut down as they tried to rush across the No-Mans-Land in between the opposing trench lines (Sound familiar?). The first tanks, which looked much like the one from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (only much slower) were invented as a way to cross that deadly gap safely and shoot up enough of the enemy for the cavalry and infantry to advance in behind them.

In WWII, the tank got a lot faster and really came into it's own as a way to hit enemy strong points quickly. Allowing the infantry to advance behind them and mop up. In Desert Storm, this was taken to the extreme. The Abrams tanks (think Russes) would kill the dug-in enemy armor and roll right over the Iraqi trenches without stopping. When the Iraqis came out to shoot the Abrams in the rear, the line of Bradleys (think Chimeras) advancing behind them would chew them to pieces. Behind the Bradleys came the foot troops, who got to guard the prisoners.

See the theme here? Tanks are offensive units, not defensive ones. They're meant to advance and take ground, not hunker down in a trench waiting to get shot. Their purpose is to rush in and take control of the field. Without it's mobility, a tank is just an expensive gun emplacement. Which moving tanks simply drive around and hit from behind.

So in 40K terms, your tanks should be moving. Pushing force into your opponent's face and disrupting their nice, leasurely advances. Tanks that don't move are just overpriced artillery. If you want an armored pillbox that shoots, save some points and buy Hydras, Bassies, Griffons, or Medusas instead. Sitting back and shooting from cover is what they're made for.

Tanks need mobility. And staying mobile means not taking sponsons. Now I know that saying this triggers all sort of crazy forum arguments about lost firepower and "wasting" the new Armored Behemoth rule. But that's shortsighted. Mobility is just as much, if not more important than firing. As the following battle report shows:


Do you see how awesome Tau Pirahnnas are? Do you see how dangerous they are to you when used effectively? My last opponent kept his in the corner of the table and traded fire with my Sentinels. I'm sure he couldn't understand why I was shooting half my army at his Pirahnnas instead of at his Hammerhead, which he also kept in the back. I shot the Pirahnnas up first because he could have run them up and completely blocked the objective I needed to grab. Giving the rest of his force some badly needed time to chew me up while the Pirahnnas popped the Chimeras I brought in from reserve on turn 2 with their fusion blasters. But no, he kept them in the corner where they did nothing for him.

Keeping Russes, Hellhounds, or Chimeras in corners or behind infantry is just as wasteful. So in that spirit, let's run down a list of all the things you can do with a mobile, sponson-less tank. When we're done, I think you'll agree that sponsons are a waste.

1) Block Off Objectives

Tanks are big, blocky things that are hard to get around. Much like the Pirahnna example above, you can use this to your advantage in objective missions by putting them in the enemy's way. So feel free to put a Chimera in the middle of the pass that Land Raider needs to get through on it's way to your objective. If you fill that Chimera with Vets that are toting 3 meltas, they may even kill it. Note that blocking works equally well in annihilation missions when the enemy's objective is your infantry line.

2) Intimidate Infantry

The enemy can't take an objective with foot infantry if they're too afraid of a Russ or Hellhound to even advance on it. If you're sitting in the middle of the table, they won't be advancing at all.

3) Hug Cover

As forces maneuver around each other, fire lines change. A mobile tank can shift it's position to hug whatever cover is between you and the enemy's mobile threats. And conversely, it can maneuver to deny cover to a target. You can also back up 6" and fire as that scary assault unit moves towards you, whittling them down.

4) Provide Cover

Got some squishy infantry that needs to stay alive? Put a wall of steel between them and the enemy's fire.

5) Frustrate Assault Infantry

A tank that doesn't move is hit automatically in HTH on it's rear armor. So an immobile tank is usually dead in the same turn it's hit by an assault squad. A tank that moves just 1" per turn is only hit on a 4+. That's an immediate 50% reduction in your enemy's HTH assault threat. A tank that moves 7" or more (I'm looking at you, Mr. Hellhound!) is only hit on a 6+. That's a whopping 83% reduction in your enemy's HTH threat. In practice, this means that tanks moving 1 - 6" will survive a HTH charge with only moderate damage. While tanks moving 7" or more are nigh invulnerable to charges. So, ALWAYS move your tanks, even if it's only 1". Just get in the habit of doing it every single turn.

6) Push Troops Around

Go read the section in the main rulebook on Tank Shock. Now imagine what 4+ tanks working in tandem and moving 7+" could do to a unit of Nob Bikers. Sure, they've got Ld10. But if you make them roll enough dice, the boxcars will come for them. And even on fearless troops like large Ork mobs, TS has it's uses. Got a big horde unit that's spread out? Just roll a Hellhound up either side and squish them together into a nice little huddle before you dump the promethium on them from both sides. Or run two Chimeras straight through the middle and force them into two halves that are 8" apart. They'll then have to waste their movement regaining coherency while the Chimeras are free to shoot up the units they were screening.

7) Chase Things

If you make something big and nasty run, like that 700-point unit of Nob Bikers, you want something of yours to stay within 6" of them so that they can't rally before they run off the table. A Chimera or Hellhound works best for this, but not if it's sitting in the back of your line behind the grunts.

8) Taunt the enemy into poor choices

This can take many forms, but I'll give you an example from my last game. I had 2 Chimeras and a Hellhound advancing on the key objective at the start of my opponent's 2nd turn. He should have shot these up with everything he had. His best weapons on that side of the board needed a 5 to glance AV12. Which was do-able.

But, I gave him a more appealing target instead. My Demolisher and Russ were in the middle of the board shooting down the other side at his Crisis Suits. Which were much less of a threat to me given their poor positions. So I "goofed" and moved my Demolisher backwards 6" away from the Crisis Suits. Which gave my opponent a cover-less side shot at it that was "only" AV13, meaning that he needed a 6 just to glance me.

When he noticed my bait he went "Oooooh!!!" and fell for it. He was so excited! He hit the Demolisher with a bunch of S7 shots but couldn't get a single six. However, he did roll roll 3 fives, which would have done something to the tanks that really mattered to the mission.

So... where should you deploy your tanks?

If we're talking about Russes, they go in the front. Preferably with hull lascannons for popping transports and heavy infantry with a nice BC/LC combo on the move. You know that big obstacle in the middle of the table? The one that you're always cursing because it spoils your fire lines? Put them in cover behind it. Then move them out to either side on turn 1. Boom! No more safe zone. Your goal here is to control the middle field and force hard choices on your opponent in turns 2 and 3. If you keep them moving, they'll live at least twice as long on average as a Russ with sponsons that's sitting and waiting for an assault unit to charge it. If your opponent advances on the Russes, don't back up into your deployment zone. Try and give him ground laterally instead. That will split his forces and dull his advance, giving your line more time to shoot. Pay attention to his AT threats. If he has too few or they're in a bad position, you have a lot more freedom to roam around.

Nine times out of 10, Chimeras and Hellhounds should be kept in reserve. This keeps them safe until you really need them and allows you to not only keep coy about your intentions, but to stay adaptive to changes on the field. Just make sure you leave gaps in your line for them to enter through.

When you bring the Chimeras on, move 12" and pop smoke. On the following turn you can move 6" and start shooting things up with your multilaser/vet meltas. The hull flamer is there to scare assault troops, and to fry hordes or threats in cover. You're not "losing" the heavy bolter because you're only going to fire one weapon or the other when you're moving anyhow. Remember also that your passengers can fire 5 weapons at a separate target from the transport itself.

When your Hellhounds arrive, move 12" and start blasting away (Remember, they're fast vehicles.). In fact, this tank has absolutely no business moving less than 7" per turn. You want a multi-melta on the hull for killing Russes and Land Raiders anywhere within 36" of your table edge. The Inferno Cannon is there to BBQ infantry after you've popped their transports open.

Well, that's it. I'm sure that better players than I could add more to this. But this post should at least get you thinking in a useful way about how you're using (or not using) your armor. Once you've kicked the deadly sponson habit and gone mobile, you should see a lot more wins.

Update (December '09)

I stand by most of what I've said here, but I do need to update some things based on my experiences since writing this article.

Hull Heavy Flamers Are Useful On Demolishers. Maybe Even Mandatory.

Even in an aggressive game, your Russes are going to have a hard time not ending up in the back of the pack. So the lascannon loadout still makes a lot of sense for them. But a Demolisher is going to be closer to the action. Not in their face (if you can help it), but usually just behind the Vets in Chimeras, lending close-range fire support. So more and more I've found that I prefer putting heavy flamers on their hulls. In many of my recent games it's even been the heavy flamer, and not the Demolisher Cannon, that killed more enemy troops.

And I'm just crazy enough to fire both at an enemy if I get the shot. :)

I'm also not quite as gung-ho about putting all my Chimeras in reserve. But I almost always leave one or two in reserve so I can react to unexpected thrusts by the enemy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Actions Reconsidered

I played a 40k game last night with a friend. I've known him for a while, and I thought that it would be OK to use his real name in a post, since he likes to be known in the larger 40k world. And I had some very complementary things to say about his army, particularly some of his conversions.

However, I used my victory against him as a way to bring up several points about the proper use of Tanks in 40K. Which, when it comes right down to it, can't come off as anything but critical and a detriment to his reputation. And hence I should have not used his real name. The complementary and critical things I had to say are simply not compatible subjects in a friendly post. At least not without asking his permission first.

And so, after thinking about it all day, I've decided to take down the posting. If I've offended anyone, I apologize.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where did THEY come from?!?

I've been going over my new, shiny Imperial Guard Codex, and aside from how cool it would be to drop Sisters of Battle out of Valkyries with Missile pods on unsuspecting troops, I keep trying various force ideas in my head. I love the idea of the elite force backed by big artillery, and tanks... (2Medusa and griffon, with 2Russes, and Vets for troops) Sandwyrm is kind of going down that path...

I'm sure some of you have seen his Battlereports and both of our thoughts on how good LRBT's are with a Battlecannon and lascannon. He's got the tanks to play with some of those lists. I've got 2 Russ, 2 chimera (1 of those partly assembled), and a partial assembled Basilisk. I don't have enough IG tanks to pull of a good armored list, without making a WH inducted list.

I'm wanting to go a different direction. I still want my old 4th ed Light infantry company back. I got to thinking of what a 5th ed dynamic footslogging force might look like.... and I came up with something like this:

Co. Command 150
Fleet Officer

Pl. Co. 40
Platoon Squad (ML/GL) 70
Platoon Squad (ML/GL) 70
Platoon Squad (LC/GL) 75
Platoon Squad (LC/GL) 75

Pl. Co. 110
Al Raheem
Platoon Squad (ML/GL) 70
Platoon Squad (ML/GL) 70
Platoon Squad (LC/GL) 75
Platoon Squad (LC/GL) 75
Special Weapon Squad (Demo Charge) 55

DH Inq. Lord w/psycannon, psychic hood 222
1plasma cannon Servitor
2Hbolter servitors

Marbo 65

Shelia the Callidus 120

Harker's Vets 155
Missile Launcher / 3GL's

for 1497pts. I still could give someone a bolter.

The unit I'm really not sure about is the Special Weapon team w/Demo charge. It turns out, I miscalculated, and was under by 50pts. I wasn't sure if I should get another vanilla squad to run for the roses, or get the demo. or to get lascannons, and give Harker a Demo.

So the concept is based around having a base of units for the enemy to fire at. That is the purpose of the first platoon. I'm thinking that in a lot of games, they will be in a corner, as in a denied flank type of setup.

The Capn' Al platoon is there to come in on the advantageous flank, depending on which one it is. Some opponents, I'll want reinforcements on my strong side, other times I may want them to come on and act as a split deployment. Most likely, the Demo charge team will come on wherever the enemy is located, the other squads will come onto the other table edge.

Inq. Lord squad is a mean dakka, anti-Deepstrike anti-psyker squad. enough said. I use them a lot. probably my most used unit. As psykers rise in popularity, a WH Inq. Lord with Hammer of the witches might find its way into the list, but I think it might be too specialized a unit.

Marbo and Shelia are there to tag team the backfield suprise market. They should be able to neutralize threats between the two of them. plus, Shelia can move someone strategically at the beginning of the game.

Harker's boys are there for crazy early game backfield havoc wreaking. either sit and hit something with the lascannon, Hbolter, and GL's, or move and loose only the LC. I expect them to get killed. if they can take out a tank, I'm happy. I might drop the Demo charge team, and get Harker Meltas.

I'm hoping this will give me the feel of a light infantry company. It should have plenty of suprises in store. I hope it's got enough firepower. For Killpoint missions, it can drop to a nice 10KP's it can be as high as 16kp's.

Any thoughts?

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Orders? We don't need no stinkin orders!"

The wife had to go to a funeral all day Wednesday, which meant that I had to watch the kids on my usual game night. So with her blessing I headed down to the south store yesterday to look for a game.

Like the north store, they've been seeing a lot of new players come back now that Donkey's been banned. It's really amazing how much of an effect one bad player can have on an entire community of gamers. The damage they cause doesn't seem like much until they're gone and you can see the recovery take place.

Anyhow, after all the flurry of experimentation with the new Codex that I've been doing over the last month, I'm finally starting to settle into a comfortable IG5 list that works for me.

145 Company Command Squad w/Plasma, Lascannon, Astropath, Fleet Officer

135 Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Lascannon
135 Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Lascannon
155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
155 Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)

Fast Attack
150 3 Scout Sentinels w/Lascannons
115 10 Rough Riders w/2 x Flamer

Heavy Support
180 Leman Russ Demolisher w/Lascannon
165 Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Lascannon
165 Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Lascannon

Total: 1500 (12KP)

Tonight I played a long-time Eldar player that was trying his 3rd or 4th go at playing Marines. So he borrowed a solidly built 1500 pt. (9 KP) army from the shop manager and we went at it. I'll call him Redeye.


We rolled an Annihilation Mission (Yes, AGAIN!) with a spearhead deployment. I won the roll for first turn and chose the corner of the board that gave me cover with good firing lanes for my Vet Squads towards either direction he might choose to come. I had a good position in cover for the Sentinels on my left flank, so I put them on the board instead of outflanking or in reserve. I forgot to make their scout move to get in a slightly better position before the game started. Although in the end it didn't hurt me at all.

I put the Demolisher and Russ #1 forward to protect the line and give them open land to move around in. With Russ #2 on my right flank. Both Chimeras and the Rough Riders were put in reserve. Since spearhead missions let you come in from reserves anywhere on your board edge, I could threaten him pretty much anywhere on that side with my more mobile units.

After finding out what my fleet officer did, Redeye decided not to put anything in reserve, which I think hurt him. But he did do a wise thing and plan an advance that kept him as far away from my board edge and that scary unit of Rough Riders as possible. I tend to forget sometimes about how intimidating they can be. Especially when you take a big unit of them. The only downside was that he would have to shove everthing he had through one gap to get at my line.

Turn 1

I moved the Sentinels a bit further forward into cover and moved each of the Russes 6" to get better shots. Then I opened up on him. My shooting was... less than stellar. My lascannons bounced off the Leman Russ Crusader and the Vindicator beside it. As did the shots from the Demolisher and both Russes. This was not looking good. The only thing my shooting managed to do was immobilize the Rhino on his left flank.

He then moved everything up and shot up Russ #1 with the LRC and the Vindicator. Leaving it a smoking wreck. Yeah, this wasn't looking good for the guard.

Turn 1 Score: 1-0 Marines

Turn 2

I rolled a 3 for the reserve roll on the Rough Riders. Which is not what I wanted. I wish the wording on the Astropath's telepathic relay ability was better. After a quick check we decided that I HAD to use the +1 on all rolls. Although with reflection, I think that you have a choice. Since the TR wording says "any reserve rolls". While the Fleet Officer's "Intercept Reserves" rule is very clear in saying that your opponent MUST subtract 1 from all his reserve rolls.

Anyhow, the Rough Riders came on along with Chimera #1. So I moved the Chimera up 12" towards the Razorback (with smoke) and the immobilized Rhino and put the Riders in a huddle behind them for cover. The Rhino's tactical squad was huddling behind both tanks. So I figured they were a good target for the Riders.

On the left I managed a direct hit on the assault marines with the Demolisher. He thought that the corner of the area terrain would provide them cover from the blast, but I showed him the actual rules where the squad would have to either be 50% obscurred or be between 2 terrain features to get a save. He was neither, so 6 assault marines died instantly. Don't people read the rules?

I didn't manage to do anything else though. That Land Raider was tough!

For Redeye's part, he turbo-boosted his bikes around the trees to his right and brought them around to threaten the Sentinels with melta love. His assault marines charged the Demolisher, knocking off it's battle cannon and leaving it stunned. Russ #2 was stunned with a shot from the Razorback, while the LRC shot up the Sentinels with it's assault cannon and bolter sponsons, wrecking one and blowing up another. Not good!

Turn 2 Score: 1-0 Marines

Turn 3

Chimera #2 came on and made a beeline for the assault marines. While Chimera #1 continued to head towards the Rhino-Razorback huddle on the right. C1 killed 2 marines via multilaser and immobilized the Razorback with melta fire from the Vets inside.

The Rough Riders did a quick survey of things and decided they could catch the assault marines if they ran 5 or 6 inches. But they tripped over a rock and ran only 2" instead. Well, at least they failed big enough to deny a charge from the assault marines.

The Vets in cover next to the lone surviving sentinel shot up the bikers, killing 1.

And then, my lone Scout Sentinel proved why Sentinel Squadrons are still worth their points over a Vendetta. He charged into the bike squad and WON THE COMBAT! Woohoo! The bikers ran towards his table edge with the Sentinel close behind.

This left Redeye with a big decision to make.

If he ignored the Sentinel, it would chase his bikers (and their meltas) off the table. But killing it would require ignoring my gunline and pouring fire from his LRC into the walker instead. Redeye split the difference. He unloaded the Chaplain and his tactical squad from the LRC and used them to go after the Sentinel. The LRC would then fire on my gunline.

I told Redeye he was spending 300+ points to save 100, but he ignored me. :)

So the Chaplain's squad charged the Sentinel after failing to hit it with a melta pistol. Now this squad had krak grenades and a power fist. But he rolled horribly and only knocked the lascannon off the Sentinel. In return, the Sentinel killed a marine and DREW THE COMBAT!

Wow! All of this of couse is blocking the pass the LRC and Vindicator need to get though to reach my line.

The LRC, meanwhile, opens up with it's assault cannon and bolter sponsons. But he doesn't target my command squad which is sitting out in the open. Because he wants to rapid fire and the command squad is 13" away. No, he shoots at the nearest vet squad which is in cover. So I go to ground for a 3+ save and only lose a single guardsman!

He has better luck with the Vindicator. Which, since it's path to my line is blocked, turns and advances on the Rough Riders, killing 5 with it's cannon. His assault marines ignore Chimera #1 and jump on Russ #2, immobilizing it.

Turn 3 Score: 1-0 Marines

Turn 4

Now things got good. Chimera #2 sped at full speed towards the Vindicator and did a 180-degree power turn, unloading my Melta Vets 5" away from it. They had no problem blowing it to smitherines. With a 4" blast. Woohoo!

The Rough Riders veered back towards the Rhino-Razor huddle.

I finally managed to stun the LRC, but between his extra armor and the Power of the Machine Spirit, he could still move and fire one weapon. Grrr!

Vet Squad #2 moved up to rapid fire range and ventilated all of the remaining Assault Marines with plasma and lasgun fire. Chimera #1 advanced on the RR huddle and knocked out the lascannon on the Razorback with melta fire.

The assault phase came and the Sentinel drew the combat AGAIN!!! Can you say "Tarpit"?

Redeye was quite annoyed by now. His bikes auto-rallied and prompty turbo-boosted around to threaten my now-dismounted vets and Chimera #2. The LRC used it's Machine Spirit to immobilize the Chimera with it's multi-melta. C2 was now stuck with it's rear facing the enemy.

On the right, Redeye had another decision, his tactical marines in the Rhino-Razor huddle were being threatened by both my dismounted Vets and the Rough Riders. As well as Chimera #1. Who would he strike?

Answer: The Rough Riders. The Tac Marines moved out from behind the huddle and wiped out the Horsies with bolter fire. This made sense as they were not only the easier kill point, but statistically the greater threat. However, it did leave them out in the open.

On my left, his Chaplain still can't kill my Sentinel.

Turn 4 Score: 2-2

Turn 5

Vet Squad #1, which had gone to ground, failed the order to get back in the fight. They stayed huddled in cover.

The Command Squad moved up to both improve their field of fire and to prevent Redeye's Chaplain from multi-charging me. Since the Chaplain's unit was still dancing with the Sentinel, the Command Squad took a few shots at the bikers, killing one.

After firing at the bikers though, my commander realized that he hadn't given any orders to Vet Squad #2! But they didn't need no stinkin' orders. They shot their lascannon at the LRC, hit with a 6, penetrated with a 6, and then wrecked it. Nice!

On my right, the Vets and Chimera #1 shot up the Tactical Squad, killing 3.

On his turn, Redeye shot a melta and a multi-melta from the bikers into the back of the immobilized Chimera, but they only knocked off it's multilaser.

Another assault round with the Sentinel, and the Chaplain finally manages to kill it. Of course, he and his squad are now standing in the open in front of my line.

Redeye charged my dismounted Vets with the Tactical Squad and LOST THE COMBAT! They didn't run or anything, but oh man.

Turn 5 Score: 3-3

Turn 6

I move all of my Vets into optimum position and open up on the Chaplain and his Tactical Squad. A direct hit with the battle cannon from Russ #2 followed by plasma and lasgun fire leaves a heap of bodies smouldering in the middle of the field. On the other side of the table, Chimera #2 fires it's Vet meltas into the immobilized Rhino at point blank range for an easy kill point.

During the assault phase, my Vets are wiped out by the tactical squad. He consolidates into the nearby building ruins.

During Redeye's turn he again fires the biker squad's melta into the back of the immobilized Chimera. And again he fails to destroy it. Just a stun and a weapon destroyed (Hvy Flamer).

Turn 6 Score: 6-4 Guard

Turn 7

Chimera #1 tries to chase down the last 3 marines in the Tactical Squad, but immobilizes itself on the base of the building they're running through. The marines die anyway to combined fire from the Chimera and a battlecannon round from Russ #2.

On Redeye's last turn he runs his biker meltas right up on the immobilized chimera and finally manages to wreck it with a weapon destroyed result that cascades up into a wrecked result. He then surrenders with only 2 KP left on the board. I still had 7.

Final Score: 7-5 Guard.


Wow. That was a good win. Especially after my first 2 turns of shooting were so poor. My strengths in this battle were in forcing my opponent to make a couple of really hard choices. First with the rampaging Sentinel and then with the Tactical Squad on my right. In the first case, I think he should have just ignored the Sentinel and gone straight for my lines with the LRC and the Chaplain Squad. In the second, I think he should have hunkered down and denied me combat instead of running out to kill a single squad. At that point in the game he was still slightly ahead and didn't need to kill me as badly as I needed to kill him. :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

WitchHunters w/inducted platoons and Russ

Canoness (Jump Pack, Cloak of St. Aspria, Book of St. Lucius, Frag Grenades, Bolt Pistol, Blessed Weapon) (122pts)

Ordo Malleus Inq. Lord (psycannon) (202pts)
2 Mystics
2 Sages
2 Hbolter Servitors
1 Plasma Cannon servitor

Battle Sister Squad (7Bolters, Hflamer, Melta, 1Vet. Sister Superior w/Bolter, Book of St. Lucius) (209pts)
Rhino Transport (extra armor, smoke)

Battle Sister Squad (7Bolters, Hflamer, Melta, 1Vet. Sister Superior w/Bolter, Book of St. Lucius) (209pts)
Rhino Transport (extra armor, smoke)

Inducted platoon command squad (grenade launcher) (35pts)
Inducted platoon squad (Autocannon) (60pts)
Inducted platoon squad (Autocannon) (60pts)

Inducted platoon command squad (grenade launcher) (35pts)
Inducted platoon squad (Autocannon) (60pts)
Inducted platoon squad (Autocannon) (60pts)

Heavy Support:
Exorcist (Extra Armor) (140pts)

Exorcist (Extra Armor) (140pts)

Inducted Leman Russ Battle Tank (Hull lascannon) (165pts)

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Deathstar has landed

"Although The Planetary Defense forces have fought bravely, with faith and fury to purge the Daemons from without. Now we must purge the Daemons that might lie within... "
-Inquisitor Lord Dominic Trakuyev

The Sandwyrm/Farmpunk battle series continues, as we both evaluate the new IG 'dex, by pitting it against a few of the OLDEST codexes out there.

This week, I wanted to try the big nasty. no, not that big nasty.... The Land Raider Crusader
It was time to try DH against the IG.
Farmpunk's 1500pt DH list

I know Sadwyrm's list was pretty similar to his list last week, but I believe he dropped the sponsons on all of his tanks this week, to get a little more umph! out of troops.

We rolled up Dawn of War Deployment, and an Annihilation mission. We were actually on a 6x4 table for once, but of course, I didn't use most of my side. Sandwyrm won the roll to go first, and elected to take advantage of bringing all of his men to bear first.

With setup, Sandwyrm had a Company Command with lascannon and plasma behind a Vet Squad hunkered with it's las plas in a ruined building corner. then to my right on the back edge of his side, he had a Vet squad snaking around a hill with it's las plas sticking out to get shots, and keep cover.

I had started with the GK mini-purgation squad at mid-field, on the left side, foolishly just in front of a ruined building. They REALLY should have been at least IN the rubble, but I was so hoping night fight would be kind, and I could possibly get forward enough to get shots on the Co. Command, with no cover save. I also put the Inq. Lord's squad in the center of the board in a building, to take up a good firing point.

I thought MAYBE, just for once, I might seize init. I really needed to. nope. This would end badly I thought.

First turn, all the tanks and Sentinels roll on the board. The GK mini-purgation squad doesn't survive, and not thinking, I assign a Multilaser wound to the Inq. Lord to save with his 3+.... which he promptly took to the face, and was insta-killed. oh this was gonna be bad. More of the Inq. Squad went down, and they ran, but were at 50%, so they regrouped on my turn. If you're keeping track, Those two Squads make up 432 points of my force. And I hadn't even come on the board yet.

since my long range shooting was gimped for this turn, I didn't do anything, but roll all my forces on the board 12", and pop smoke on one of the two rhinos. I was hoping to do a smoke shuffle, and have the rhinos give cover saves to each other as the rolled up the board, with the Land Raider Crusader on the left of them. so I rolled them on on the left side of the board, across from the Exterminator, and Demolisher, and a melta vet squad in a chimera.
I was hoping to get maybe one of the IST's over there.

Turn two:
Turn two's shooting saw more burning shells of rhinos on my side of the board. The smoked rhino got immobilized, and lost it's StormBolter. The unsmoked rhino now was a smoking, wreck.
The big Crusader could care less. The Sentinels WAY over on my right hand side couldn't get shots off from being stuck in too much cover for them to manage to walk through, and Marbo's Demo Charge only immobed the smoked rhino. The IGST's DeepStruck into the edge of the building the Inq. Lord Had been in, but they didn't shoot up too much. The Servitors looked blankly at them, as the hotshot lasguns pinged off their cover.
I was almost sick over having lost the squads, and my transports. I figured Game was over. I thought perhaps Sandwyrm would hunker back and pound away, and I'd have to hope Shelia could make 2-3 KP's all by herself. I told Sandwyrm I thought I should concede at this point...but I had 2 aces in my hole. Shelia, and the Crusader.

The Crusader Stormed 12" forward again, and took a potshot Power of Machine Spiriting it's Multimelta at the Demolisher, getting a can't move or shoot result. I was fine with that. short of destroyed, I needed it to not shoot. anything. Shelia was still watching TV in the Secret cave somewhere in reserves land.
the IST's in the right hand rhino got out and moved forward to fire at the IST's, and the left hand IST's got moved out to shoot Marbo down. The plasma cannon Servitor powered up to hit the tightly clustered IGST's, and never stopped powering up. The 'Gets Hot' roll fried his poor brain, as the second Sage hadn't survived to tell him to shut down and try again. The Hbolter rattled the IGST's, and cleaned them out.

Turn three:
Turn 3 saw the right side Melta vet chimera roll forward 6" to get melta shots off on the Crusader. I thought it was toast... but it miraculously lived, and took a few lascannons as well.
One of the IST squads got shot up, leaving the Meltas, as a lot of fire went to the big deathstar rolling across the board. A Multi-melta fell off the Crudaser, Which was a relief for me. I needed 12" more movement. The sentinels still trudged through rubble, and had no clear shots. The center Vet squad finished off the Inq. Squad.

On my side of the board, Shelia came out of cover on turn 3, and was going to make a difference. She set her sights on the Co. Com. fried 3 of 5, and poked 2 more in the eye. I was glad to see she was in a pretty good mood today.
The forward IST's failed to pop the left side Chimera, and hoped not to get shot up by the center Russ and Melta Chimera again.
The Crusader once again rolled forward to spit out the giant hammer it was hiding inside it's anvil-like exterior. The 10 GK's and Grandmaster had scores to settle, as they hit the stunned demolisher, and melta-chimera. Destroying both, and losing a GK from blasts during assault. The Poor Vets inside the Chimera were shocked by the fury of the GK's they were pinned down in the rubble of their exploded tank.
I was glad I hadn't given up the game last turn now...

Turn 4
saw the Exterminator take down a couple GK's, and the LRBT scatter wide on the GK's... Thank goodness!
The forward IST's got chewed up, and died. The back IST's took a few shots like pros, and kept movin.
Shelia finished with the Commander, and set her sights elsewhere.

Shelia opened up on the Vets in cover in the center, cleverly attacking the HWT, not in cover, and pulling the rest of the squad to her. She finished off a few too many however, as the boys freaked out and ran off the board.
The GM charged into the wrecked Chimera, killing off the vets as they tried to run away.
The GK's moved towards the Exterminator, and Blew it up. The LRC moved into Sandwyrm's backfield, and chewed up the squad that had been behind the hill, as it advanced to the center of the table, away from the rampaging knights. The back IST's got a no move or shoot result on the LRBT. good enough for me.

Turn 5:
turn five saw the last Meltavet Chimera turn it's attention to the Crusader. Only to have all shots ping off the hull. Shelia took a few more shots like a pro, ducking behind cover. The Lascannon sentinel shots went wide, and the chimera moved too far to fire this turn.

Shelia ran over to the new Vet squad, flamed, then charged, chasing them off the board, and stunning the Chimera. The back IST's blew up the LRBT, taking a few of them with it. the GK's and GM shot up the side armor of the Chimera for a few more stuns and shakens.

Turn 6:
Shelia's luck runs out, as she falls to plasma shots from the las las/plas vets. The Sentinels miss, and fail to pen the crusader, and all other IG forces have been defeated, or silenced.

The IST's move up and take down the last vets, and the GM and GK's thrash against the Chimera, taking it apart with enough immobilized results to take off all weapons, and finally destroy it.

We call the game here, with 12KP's for the Inquisition, to 6 for the IG.


having an Anvil roll across the board, and unload a nasty Hammer unit is pretty viscious. I underestimate what those 681pts (10GK's, Grandmaster, and LRC) can do. They were frighteningly effective at taking out tanks, as well. Maybe that's how it feels to run Nobs in a Trukk at the opponent.

Shelia also was gold. She's meant for taking on Leader squads, and lower Ld troops. again, Shaking and stunning tanks with her Mind flayer was a valuable asset. I was surprised at how much havoc she wreaked this game. Then again, she needed to.

The game would have been different had she not shown up Turn3. Then again, if any of the Melta shots had destroyed or Immobilized the Crusader before my phase of Turn 3, it would have been very different as well.

I think Maybe having the Sentinels in reserve, or even outflanking might have helped.

I also wish I'd left the GK Mini-Purgation squad further back, and not assigned any wounds EXCEPT lasgun shots to the Inq. Lord.

Overall, I think this GK force is a nasty, hard-hitting party. I don't think it's quite time to count out either of the Inquisition armies quite yet. Both have some nasty tricks up their sleeves.

I think I'm going to work on Inducted and Allied IG/Inq. lists for a few weeks.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pop Goes the Rhino

Farmpunk and I had our rematch this week: Seize Ground with a Dawn of War deployment.

No pictures unfortunately. We both forgot to bring a camera. And my camera phone is evidently too old (4 years) to send a flippen' email anymore. Damned Verizon.

If you were to ask Farmpunk about the game, he'd probably describe it along the lines of a lascannon up the rear access point. But despite the utter massacre his forces endured, he still would have won had the game ended on turn 5. Or pulled a draw had the game ended on turn 6. That's the thing about Sisters of Battle. You have to kill every stinking last one of them. Because they're the most dangerous when their squads have been reduced to 2-3 models.

Turn seven began with a lone Sister Superior surrendering to my troops in the middle of the field. While his Inquisa-Lootas(tm) and Exorcist looked on from the corner of the board. In all, I lost 3 troop squads, a Chimera, 5 Stormies, and one Sentinel. In KP, it would have been something like to 9 to 5 in my favor.

Random Lessons/Observations from this game vs. our game from last week:

1) You may be tempted to put meltas or flamers in your command squads and hide them in the rear so they can counter-fire enemy troops that reach your lines. But honestly, just put a lascannon in the squad and stick them up front. It's far more important to stop the enemy BEFORE they reach your lines. 'Cause if they get to you you're dead anyhow. I did the former last game and the latter this game. The latter worked out much better.

2) There is absolutely no point in using a squad of scout Sentinels as outflanking tank hunters if you take autocannons instead of lascannons. So just suck it up and pay the extra 30 pts.

3) Sentinels are often used as tar pits to tie up enemy squads. But this was the first time I've ever seen stormtroopers (=I= version) used as a tar pit to tie up an outflanking Sentinel squad. And they did, for 3 turns after my Sentinels came on and popped an Exorcist with their lascannons! HAHA!!! Farmpunk was cursing the whole time that he didn't buy krak grenades for them. The Sentinels finally won the combat (1 wound to zero) and destroyed the stormies. After which they sniped the last two sisters off of an objective. :)

4) Think long and hard about putting sponsons of any kind on a Russ. They're way too expensive for what you get. Lumbering Behemoth means that you get a much better value out of moving your Russes and firing your hull weapon in addition to your main gun. I pulled the sponsons off of the Demolisher this game. I will very likely pull them off the Exterminator for the next game.

5) I've been on the fence for a while about taking my Leman Russ Exterminator (H4-TL Autocannons) vs. a standard Russ. But I really fell in love with the Exterminator this game. "Pop Goes the Rhino!" Plus, sometimes you need to lay down some heavy dakka without the risk of hitting your own troops.

6) Never, ever run a lone character towards a line of Imperial Guard and expect to live through their shooting phase. I don't care if you're a 10-foot tall Ork Warboss in Mega Armor or a Cannoness with a 3+ Inv save. Just don't do it. Given 20+ save rolls, you WILL roll enough ones to die.

7) I've said some really, really unkind things about the new 16-pt. Stormtroopers lately. But when I costed up a squad of five for this game and compared it to the old codex with identical equipment + deepStrike/infiltrate, the difference in cost between the two was only 11 measly pts. And for that 11 pts. I not only get AP3 lasguns, but I can also choose my insertion type (Deep Strike w/Re-roll, Outflank w/Pinning, Scout w/Move through Cover) at deployment instead of when the list is built!

So I hereby apologize to GW for badmouthing the new Stormies. They rock as an insertion unit. Don't go crazy and buy too many or use them as line troops. But, much like Marbo, they are an excellent knife that you can place wherever you need one. Hell, if I had dropped the melta from the squad (Because they have AP3 lasguns and kraks as standard now.), I would have paid just ONE extra point for them in comparison.

8) Sheila the Callidus Assassin's single most important asset these last two games has been her ability to automatically stun/shake tanks with her neural shredder.

9) Sheila can jump out of close combat at the beginning of the phase. Sly Marbo can jump out of close combat at the end of the phase. Guess who ends up chasing who around the board? It reminded me of Brock Samson and Molitov Cocktease from the Venture Brothers series on Adult Swim. It finally ended when Sheila took a lascannon to the face from my command squad. :)

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