Army: (1850 pts ) -- MC Tyranid list: CC Tyrant + 3 Guard, Shooty Tyrant + 2 Guard, 5x shooty Carnies (2 with 5 wounds, all with 3+ save), Zoanthrope with Synapse, 2x8 Genestealers, 2x8 Without-number Gaunts
Terrain: A ring of hills and woods and a HUGE open area (over 24" wide and 48" in length) in the middle of the table. Lee wanted to alternate placing terrain with me, and I took advantage of his decision to do so. There were four objectives -- two in what was ultimately my deployment zone and two in Lee's.
Mission: Spearhead, Seize Ground
Summary: There was a single ruined building in the table corner I chose to start in. A multistory monster, it was a perfect location for my four Broadsides, and two units of 3 Crisis Suits (as well as Shas’el commander in suit), well outside of any outflanking assault that Lee’s Genestealers might be attempting. I also piled 3 units of Fire Warriors into the building, and made sure that there were no juicy ‘stepping stone’ units for his Tyranid assaults.
Lee piled his monstrous critters as near to the center of the table as possible, with the CC Tyrant and his guard providing cover for everyone else behind them. With the first shot, I opened up, and was reminded of the importance of picking the correct order for firing all weapons – I started with Railguns, which was a mistake, as all those wounds got allocated to the Tyrant Guard. Once they vanished, the surviving Shooty Tyrant simply shrugged off nearly all the wounds with his 2+ save. Oh, well.
Lee’s Barbed Strangler shots were remarkably ineffective all game, but he made up for it by making significantly more armor saves than average. By the end of the game, I had wiped out everything except his Zoanthrope (hiding out of LOS) and his “without number” Gaunts, which were, of course, without number. Lee, on the other hand, spent the entire game wiping out Fire Warriors, without which I could claim….nothing. Final score: me with one objective and most of my army left (but only one unit of Fire Warriors), and Lee with two objectives courtesy of his Gaunts. D’oh! What’s more, I had given up so many kill points wiping out most of his army that he nearly counted as having Massacred me.
What Should I Have Done?: Keep my Fire Warriors alive. I don’t regret sacrificing two of my Warrior units (and the Devilfish they were riding) to keep the Carnifexes from getting close to my firing line of Suits, but that means that I should have been more clear about what I was planning to do with the OTHER units of Fire Warriors, and I failed to plan for that until the bottom of the third turn, when I realized what Lee was up to.
As a result, I had to dramatically shift my targeting priorities, and attempt to use my Crisis Suits to contest my opponent’s objectives (which I failed to do, as there were too many Monstrous Critters in the way!). The Tyranid build I saw was clearly the sort of pattern I need to reconfigure my Slann to emulate – small units of Troops dedicated to mission objectives, and everything else into Big Guys – in my case, Broadsides or Crisis Suits and their accompanying firepower, who were all-stars in this match.
Finally, it wouldn't have hurt to keep a better idea in my mind of where to place my two objectives. One was right next to my firebase, but the other was completely in the open in the middle of the table -- which helped Lee's shooty Carnifexes just as much (or even more) than my units.