Friday, October 30, 2009

17 October 2009 FRAGtoberfest Tournament (Game 3)

Opponent: Mike (Thunderwolf Cavalry Space Wolves). Not the same Mike as my host “St. Omerville”, this was a fellow from another local Maryland gaming club “Inner Circle”. Mike’s army was a no-nonsense, run-up-the-middle-and-SMACK-you kind of army. Two chunky units of Thunderwolves each led by a hero, a swarm of ablative wolves, some distracting Lone Wolves, three units of Rhino Rush support, and four Lascannons with lots of protection. It’s not the nastiest of Thunderwolf bum-rush armies (he could have brought more ablative wolves for his cavalry, for example), but it was still going to hurt if it hit you.

Army: (2000 pts)
  • 2x Wolf Guard Battle Leader on Thunderwolf, with 2+ save, Storm Shield, and nasty killy bits, each leading 3 Thunderwolves with Storm Shields and nasty killy bits, plus 2 ablative doggies.
  • 1x8 Doggies by themselves
  • 3x5 Grey Hunters with meltas and powerfists, in Rhino
  • 2x Lone Wolf in Termie Armor, with Storm Shield and 2 ablative doggies
  • 2x3 Long Fangs with lascannons, in Rhino
Mission: “Annihilation/Pitched Battle” (Kill Points and 12” Deployment). Two secondary objective “beacon” markers near the center of the table.

Terrain: Hills in the both my corners, a row of trees on my side of the table. Mike’s side of the table had a heavily wooded ridge protruding toward the center of the battlefield, and a large, heavy bunker on his left flank (my right flank), but out of his deployment zone. He placed his objective in that bunker, and I placed mine in the trees on my left flank.

What happened?
Mike won the roll-off, and after choosing table edge, deployed his Long Fangs, still in their protective Rhino transports, on and within that heavily wooded ridge. He also deployed both units of Thunderwolves – one on his right flank, along one side of the wooded ridge, and the other on his left flank (my right), partially in cover behind the heavy bunker. For some reason, he left his six (!) other units in Reserve.

I responded by deploying everything in a castle formation on the hill on my left flank, packed in tight because Mike’s army had no area-effect weapons. Then I lucked out, and stole initiative, and the game was basically over.

In Turn 1, I destroyed one unit of Thunderwolf cavalry. In turn two, I killed all but one body (the uber-killy Wolf Guard Battle Leader) in the second unit of Thunderwolf cavalry. Mike then blew his reserve rolls at the bottom of the second AND third turns, and a total of just one Lone Wolf came wandering on (in Turn 2). I spent the start of Turn 3 blowing the Long Fang Rhinos away – and the Long Fangs, being no dummies, promptly hid behind the wreckage. That meant that given the lack of ANY other targets in range, Mike’s lucky Lone Wolf got to suck down 70 Tau weapon HITS (in other words, I hit that bad boy 70 times), but a combination of lousy to-wound rolls and amazing save rolls kept him alive for two turns of punishment before that resilient doggy bastard finally gave up the ghost in Turn 4.

By the time the three Grey Hunters units and the unit of Wolves finally reserved onto the table in turn 4, the Long Fangs had crept around to a well-hidden shooting position, the last Thunderwolf was prowling about in cover over 24” from my lines, and everything else was a corpse. Mike tried a late-game Rhino rush, but had his Rhinos blown out from under him in turn 5 just as the game ended. Ultimately, I lost one transport (Devilfish) and accompanying squad of Brave (Fire Warriors) when it moved a little too close to that uber-killy T-Wolf hero, and lost a unit of Hornsuits (B-Sides) to several more turns of sustained lascannon fire from 4 Long Fangs. Mike, on the other hand, had lost 8 or 9 units worth of stuff, and never really threatened my forces.

Turning the Tables
Granted I won initiative and shot the Space Puppies up before they could move, but even then it made very little sense for Mike not to begin the game with all of his mobile assault units on the table, itching to jump all over me. Facing just two units of Thunderwolves, one of which was a turn further away from my lines than the other (remember, I got to set up second), my target priority was very easy. Had I been facing SIX fast-moving assault units – because even a unit of 5 Grey Hunters would have totally pwned everything in my army – I would have had a much bigger headache. Particularly if the Space Wolves had gone first, as they were very likely to do.

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