Thursday, March 10, 2011

Battle Report: The Tallarn 13th vs. Shrike Termies

by SandWyrm

I got down to the North Store a little late last night. By the time I arrived at 6:30, there were already 4 games going on. Usually that means that I have to sit back and settle for either a night of conversation or a small non-competitive game with a new player.

But while I was talking about the new Grey Knights with a couple of the regulars, in walks ZerkeX; a blog regular who came down from Muncie. He didn't blink when I asked if he wanted to play my test list for Adepticon. He had a tourney list to run too. Nice! So we had Gibbs set up a table for us.

ZerkeX had brought along his Shrike Termies. His army consisted of Shrike, 2 10-man Assault Squads with jump packs, 2 10-Man Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminator squads, and 2 10-man Tac squads with lascannons. Shrike was attached to one of the Assault Squads, which I was told had meltabombs.

Here's what I was running:

210    Company Command Squad w/3 x Melta, Regimental Standard, Astropath, Fleet Officer, Chimera
160    5 Stormtroopers w/2 x Melta, Chimera

155    Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
155    Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera
170    Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Chimera
145    Veteran Squad w/3 x Flamer, Demolitions, Carapace
145    Veteran Squad w/3 x Flamer, Demolitions, Carapace
    Fast Attack
130    Vendetta Gunship
130    Vendetta Gunship
135    Hellhound w/Hull Heavy Flamer, Smoke

    Heavy Support
165    Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Heavy Flamer
150    Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Hull Heavy Flamer

Total: 1850

I rolled a die for the mission and it came up a '6'. Crap. An Annihilation game. I was coming in with 17 KP to his 7 KP. No matter what I did, he was likely to win this game. Even the Emo-Wing would have trouble with the 11-12 KPs it has to give.

ZerkeX rolled a '3' for deployment. He then won the roll for first turn. Here's a shot of our setup after Shrike's infiltration and my scout moves.

The Stormies are up front to give Shrike's unit something to pounce on instead of my line or the nearest Vendetta. My plan on the right is to harass and distract the Termies on that side with the Hellhound and Vendetta. I've also got the Plasma Vet unit in reserve.

A close-up of ZerkeX's deployment. His Tactical Squads are bunkered on the baby-bastion, which we decided to treat as a ruin. It's hard to see, but both squads' tails are hanging out the back.

And here's a close-up of my side.

Turn 1

Shrike's unit takes the bait and moves up to assault the Stormtroopers' Chimera.

His Termies on my right advance.

I'm hoping that the Stormtrooper Chimera will take a while to beat down, but ZerkeX's lascannons go right through it's smoke and explode it. Shrike then jumps on the squad. Well, at least he's not up on my line yet.

On my turn, I let Shrike's unit have it. The Demo-Vets lob their charge and rake him with their flamers.

Combined with supporting fire from my Russes and Chimeras, there's not much left of Shrike's squad.

My Hellhound attempts to move 12" to the left of the oncoming Termies, but immobilizes itself on the difficult terrain it attempted to cross. Great. He's dead. I kill a Termie with the Inferno Cannon. The Vendetta scoots over to the corner of the table to play keep away.

Turn 2

ZerkeX decides to split Shrike's squad and assault both of my blocking squads at once. That seems... optimistic to me. My instincts are proven correct when Shrike is killed in assault by the squad he charged. The lone assault marine survives, but doesn't kill anyone.

The other assault squad is moving to my left to engage a Melta-Vet Chimera. They wreck it in assault and the squad tumbles out behind it.

On my turn, the front Demo-Vet squad finally beats down the lone Assault Marine and spreads out a bit to prepare for the oncoming TH/SS Termies.

To my left, the other assault squad is decimated by a couple of battlecannon hits and my meltas. Leaving just the Sergeant and a lone trooper alive.

On my right, the Hellhound blows up after being assaulted by ZerkeX's termies. My Plasma Vets come in from reserve though, and kill a few Termies with their Plasma Guns. With help from the Vendetta on that side, the unit is now down to 5 models.

Turn 3

The 2 surviving assault marines move up between 3 of my tanks. ZerkeX ponders his choices for a bit and decides to try and assault the Demolisher; presumably to help protect his Termies.

In retrospect, I think he would have been better off taking out the Russ because it was not only easier to kill, but because it was the only long-range anti-infantry unit I had. It didn't really matter to the game much whether or not I killed his Termies. But if I can kill or run off his bunkered Tactical Squads, I actually have a chance at winning the game.

Here comes the fresh Terminator unit to play. They assault my first line of blockers and hit twelve times with their hammers. ZerkeX then rolls EIGHT ONES and only kills 4 of my Vets. They appreciate their luck and then high-tail it for the back of the table. Well done boys!

Over on my right, the 5 Termies from the other squad assault my Plasma Vets' Chimera. It's immobilized and can't shoot, but I'd call that a lucky result. On my turn I get out, back up, and kill 2 more Termies with plasmas and lascannon fire from the nearby Vendetta.

During the assault phase, the Termies take their free hits on the Chimera and blow it to bits.

The two surviving Assault Marines charge the Demolisher. They've got a fist and a crack grenade, but whiff their attack rolls. On my turn, I move the Demolisher over so that these two are caught in a melta gun crossfire. They go to ground and make a surprising number of saves, but I take them out in the end. :)

On my turn, the running Vets are too close to the Termies and run again, though not very far. An order from my Company Commander forces them to rally later during my shooting phase.

The other Vet squad moves to block the Termies and does the flamer + demo charge 2-step with them. The Demolisher, Russ, and left Vendetta back them up; the Company Command Squad shoots it's meltas too. When the dust settles, there's only 4 Termies left. They then fail their Morale check and run!

Turn 4

Over on the right, ZerkeX's last 3 Termies make their way through the Chimera wreckage and smite the Plasma Vets, who run off the table.

Over on the left, the 4 remaining Termies find their honor and rally. Fleeting their way back to my line, where they assault and kill my blocking squad.

On my turn, the Vendetta over by the where the Plasma Vets ran makes a full-out run for the center of the table.

On the left, I torrent down the last 4 Termies.

Turn 5

On the right, ZerkeX's last 3 Termies chase down the Vendetta, but they need 6's to hit and don't roll higher than a 5.

On the left, ZerkeX's Tactical Squad Lascannons finally manage to immobilize my Vendetta with it's nose facing my side of the table. ZerkeX has been shooting at the Vendettas all game long, but this is the first real damage result he's gotten.

When my turn comes, I start scrambling units towards the center of the table. I manage to kill 2 of the Termies that are chasing the Vendetta; leaving one survivor.

My Russ takes a shot at the 2 Tactical Squads in the baby bastion. I get a direct hit and ZerkeX goes to ground for a 3+ cover save. I still kill 3 models in one squad and 2 in the other. At the end of my shooting ZerkeX passes both his morale tests.


The store is closing at this point, so we end the game. I've done amazingly well at limiting the damage done to me. ZerkeX only scores 6 Kill Points against the Tallarn 13th. But in return I only did 4. Even though his forces were decimated and mine controlled the field, I lose. Had the game gone on, I would have killed the last Terminator and maybe run off a Tac Squad. But he also would have probably killed a tank or a Vendetta with his lascannons; then it would have been a 7-6 win for him instead of a tie.

This is why I bleeping hate Kill Points.

I really don't think that seventeen KPs unusual or extreme for a Guard Army. Even using platoons and squadrons, there's no way that I can make an effective force of less than 14-15 KP at this point level. Dark Eldar players probably feel my pain too.

I can take some consolation from the fact that I was testing a tournament list. In either the NOVA or Adepticon formats I would have been able to win the game. Adepticon's missions give you 3 overall objectives (such as KPs, HQ Kill, and Table Quarters) and the player that completes two of them wins. In the NOVA I believe you need to win by 3 or more KPs over your opponent. Or you tie and go to the next tiebreaker, which I could handle.

Grumbling aside though, ZerkeX was a pleasure to play. He knew his rules well and was quite friendly. His whole army was painted too, which is always nice. I'd play him again without hesitation, but maybe with the Emo-Wing next time. ;)


  1. I don't know why they got rid of victory points. I killed a Leman Russ, how much does that cost? That's how many points I get. I killed 4 out of 10 of your terminators, how much is 4/10 of the unit? That's how many points I get.

  2. @ST Because if Jervis's Ten-Year old found it hard to figure out, they dropped it from the system. Or at least that was the chatter at the time 5th came out...

    @SW Nice batrep. I plan to study it further when I get home. It is also so nice to see two armies that look like armies!

    One comment, the assault marines were so nicely bunched together. Stealing the initiative could have been HUGE.

  3. The Shrike is such an awesome character. Hyperion ranks alongside Dune in my pantheon of awesome scifi.

    I do like KPs as a way to balance large armies, but the way they work now means certain otherwise balanced and fair matchups turn into foregone conclusions.

    The way they handle it in NOVA is clever, it's a very well thought out event.

  4. Yup: Victory points made complete sense.

    Great batrep: I was enthralled!

  5. It would have gone very differntly had the game continued to 6. I don't think that I would have had the luck necessary to keep the loner alive, and both my lascannons were to no help there.

    However I learned alot during the game to prepare me for playing guard armies that are just ruthless. Thanks for the game boss. I hope to do it again sometime.

  6. He only had 20 Terminators? Man if he had 30 then I was having flashbacks!

  7. @Student Teacher

    I think Jevis can only add on his fingers and toes. :)

    Seriously though, KPs were meant to be a counter to MSU tactics by helping elite armies. But they're so easy to abuse that even medium KP builds in the 12-15 range get screwed over.


    I had no shortage of good luck in that game, but I don't think it would have held out long enough to run both of those Tac squads off the table. Only the 1 Vendetta and the Vanilla Russ had the range to do anything in turn 6, and the Russ could have easily missed completely. Or you could have started making your saves.

  8. You would have had to have killed 50% percent before you could even get points.
    If 40% were killed you still get nothing.

  9. I still had a great time playing you. I learned a ton. Not to mention, I was taking mental notes, as I'm building an almost identical IG army. I really wanna paint some I bought the dex, built the list, asked about the Hellhound, which I got to watch epicly fail in our game, but learned good tactics for when I get around to putting it together and hitting the tables with it. (only mine is built for 2K and runs 2 hounds 2 wolves.)

  10. Also my army list was as follows so it is out there for others to see.

    HQ: Shrike

    Tac Squad (10 man)
    Tac Squad (10 man)

    Assault Terminators (10 man)
    Thunder hammers
    Storm Shields
    Assault Terminators (10 man)
    Thunder hammers
    Storm Shields

    Fast Attack:
    Assault Squad (10 man)
    Assault Squad (10 man)


    Spaguatyrine I assume that you talk of none other than Zack. He is something special. Both a good general, and a little past a regular player. He runs those terminators better than I do. I hope to achieve the ability that he has, but without the attitude that he has gotten over himself. I'm not as competitive as he is, but I am a competitive person.

    I should also point out that this is my secondary army. I normally play Space Wolves, but I decided recently that I will not field them again until they are painted. So it might be a bit before the Wolves hit the field again. While I love them, I can not bring myself to play armies like Sandwyrm's and your own there Spaguatyrine with a grey army. It doesn't seem right that I can throw down a good list but only have 5 dudes painted. So they may see the battlefield one of these days, but not tomorrow. The only question that I have now is how to get my painter to get to work...I'm only going to assume that the cattle prod may be a bit early, but never the less is on standby.

  11. Zach is his name? Glasses dark hair? Lives somewhere up north?

    If we are talking about the same guy then I have some choice words to day about his "competitiveness".

    Those TH/SS can be super nasty. I feel your pain Sandwyrm. Certain armies can put out cool 8 kill point armies, and don't suffer from seize ground because they can combat squad. Hence the TH/SS + shrike and 2 tac, 2 assault squad list. They can split into 4 troop choices, 4 assault squads, 4 terminator squads etc.

    Almost makes you want to run that banewolf?

  12. @Korona

    Yeah, the first 2 Hyperion books are Dune-level awesome. The last two?... eh. Herbert gets the nod for not falling down into emo-land.

  13. @Spangy

    Yikes! I hadn't realized that you could combat-squad units of Assault Termies. My respect for that list just went up several notches.

  14. @Spangy

    Banewolf? You must be joking. Range beats AP every time.


    It was a fun game and I did learn some things. I don't have a problem with you, just the KP rules. If I could run 8KP that split into 15 when needed, I'd run a list like that too. :)

  15. as a mech player, I can't say I like KP's at all.

    I don't think they were designed to balance bricks vs. MSU's at all.

    I think Jervis wanted to dumb down the game. The result was If you take a 6kp army, and play all-reserves, you'll auto-win.

    I was disturbed by the fact that I could field a fully decked out cannoness w/fully decked out Celestian retinue (eviscerator, 2melta), and 5 20-strong sisters squads (2melta, Master Craft Eviscerator, Book) and still come in at 6kp's and 1800pts.

    the army would kinda suck, but I'd win 1/3 of my games.

  16. @ Farmpunk:

    I really stress the fact that this is a dice game. And without cheating on the dice, there really isn't a way to garantee that you win anything. I should have had those Terminators in his back like like hella fast, but instead the dice decided that they should hang out in the front for the game. Whatever. But always remember that this game is about 50% strategy, 50% holy shit please roll well.

    Yeah that is Zack. He is an overly competitive fella. I don't think that he is all that bad of an actual person, but yes he is a frightening person to play against if he has had the time to sit down and play the list more than once. An excellent general. I would like to see him get better on the attitude part which I brought up, but he is still a good player weather he bitches and moans about the game while winning or not.

    The list isn't perfect. I built it to play it becuase I have trouble beating it. I figured that if I could learn to play it, I could learn to beat it without to much of a problem. Turns out, while it is hard to beat, it is also really hard to play. I've learned more than once that I just can't throw those Terminators at anything...they are just not as effective as they need to be. They can hurt what they touch, but if the hit the wrong things, (like Chimera's for instance) they just flounder there for a turn.

    All in all, I like playing my list, but it doesn't mean that it is all that great. It is easy to beat if you do what Sandwyrm did, and shoot the terminators after dealing with the assault marines. Most times I play it, I get people who just start firing at random throughout my stuff, and it doesn't kill enough of the stuff to do any real damage, so I make it through.

  17. I would say 1/3 list, 1/3 tactics, and 1/3 dice.

    One of the reasons I like movement so much is that it's the least random phase of the game and it has a huge impact on everything else.

  18. okay yeah I can go with that. I see the reasoning there, but it still puts a lot of the game down to dice. That is the hardest part to overcome.

  19. Spangy had the worst rolling I've ever seen a few weeks back. He got so mad he was throwing dice at the back door of the shop.

    But he still won that game. :)

  20. Sounds like a Zack move right there. You owe him money if you do that. It has a patient pending on it. Sorry Spaguatyrine.

  21. @ZerkeX,

    I threw 1 die and I apologized for my aweful behavior that night. I never should have done that.

    But yes when someone has to win so bad that have to cheat.... it is sad.

    And I will never allow someone to play me again with casino dice ;)

    Sandwyrm, yes an ap2 template to kill all his troops so he cannot hold objectives. :)

  22. I'm not sure that using Casino Dice is cheating...but never the less, if it makes you feel better he didn't win anything either. I was unaware that there was any standard that was set down for what dice to use, as Zack normally brought his own, and borrowed someone else's to avoid being called a cheat.

  23. In general, the larger and squarer the die, the easier it is to cheat with them. There's a reason that Casinos require 2 bounces for a legal throw in craps. With larger dice, it's possible to set them a certain way in the palm and then roll them onto the desired number in a sort of controlled flip. I've seen it done enough times to be wary of it.

    There's also been some research to suggest that standard round-cornered chessex dice roll twice as many ones as sixes on average.

  24. sandwyrm: we have a certain player in my area who "throws" his dice....well i mean did throw his dice....after me and another fellow called him on it, he stopped using bigger dice, and miraculously stopped playing as for loading the dice, ive gotten good enough at it that i can roll 6's about 50% of the time. and no ive never done it in a game, just trying to learn how so that when spag, foodie, and the rest of the back40k gang go to vegas, we will be the next oceans 14!!!

  25. While KP's can be crippling to certain builds in 1/3 of the games you play those builds gain a huge advantage in the other 2/3. Balance being brought to the game= a better overall game in my opinion.

  26. @Scotty

    Balance is fine, but auto-losing a game either way is not. KPs neuter even moderate builds of IG and Dark Eldar.

    There are better ways to balance things. Such as KP_Killed + KP_Surviving. It curves results in both directions, so that MSU gets an initial scoring advantage at the start of the game (when it matters least), but elite builds will pull ahead in close games.

  27. Another way to do it would be to use Victory Points, but subtract each army's KPs x 10 from the totals at the end of the game.


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