Friday, January 1, 2010

12 December 2009 Inner Circle Holiday Beatdown (Game 3)

Opponent: Leigh B (Mechanized Chaos Marines) One of the FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) club members, Leigh had been itching to play against me for a while, and this game gave us the opportunity to throw down. He was fielding a double-Lash Chaos army with serious Berzerker punch, and some very nice color schemes besides.

Army: (1850 pts)
  • 1x Slaneeshi Demon Prince with Wings and Lash
  • 1x Greater Daemon

  • 1x Chaos Sorceror with Lash, + 8 Berzerkers (including P-Fist), in a Land Raider
  • 2x 8 Khorne Berzerkers, including P-Fist, in Rhino
  • 1x 8 Raptors with 2 Meltas, including Slaneeshi Champion with P-Fist

  • 1x Defiler with additional Close-Combat Weapon (in place of flamer)
  • 1x Daemonically Possessed Vindicator

Mission: 5-objective mission with 12” deployment zones. Based off the YTTH tourney concept (the tournament organizer, and many of the Inner Circle club members, are avid readers of the blog), the 5 objectives are placed in an “X” pattern in the center of each of the four corners, and in the very middle of the table. As ‘secondary’ points, each person could designate any five units in the opponent’s army that counted as “Kill Points” if destroyed at the end of the game. Finally, each player received a random selection of five (usually quite silly, and sometimes unattainable) ‘tertiary’ missions that each also earned a point. Thus, a player could receive up to 15 points per game (5 objectives, 5 “Kill Points”, and 5 tertiary objectives), although this was very unlikely.

Terrain: There was a large multi-story LOS-blocking building on the left-most corner of my table edge, and a tall hill in the catacorner (Leigh’s far left corner) that wasn’t quite as high, but still enough to block LOS to Rhinos and Demon Princes. Otherwise, there were only a few sparse trees and low hills around the edges of the table that did nothing to block LOS.

What happened?
Leigh won the roll-off and chose to set up first, deploying all of his forces in and around the hill in his deployment zone, right up against the corner of the table. Although I was very tempted by the possibility of setting up out of LOS in the far left-hand corner of the table, and playing a ‘maneuver’ game in the middle, trying to grab objectives, I realized pretty quickly that Leigh had made a big mistake trapping himself in one corner of the table.

So instead, I deployed my entire force behind some trees on my right corner, directly opposite Leigh’s forces, and although I had to squeeze to fit all 12 Rhino chassis into the limited cover, I ended up stealing the Initiative anyway, so didn’t have to worry about being stuck behind wrecks or other such silliness.

Leigh had one turn to respond to my headlong charge before I was on him, and he fared poorly, choosing to move TOWARD me with all his forces, and managing to stop exactly one Immolator. On turn two, I was within melta and flamer range, and after neatly blocking up two hatches of the Land Raider, popped it and flamed the unit inside to below half-strength. I also killed the Defiler, trapped the two Chaos Rhinos full of Berzerkers between my own vehicles, and created a Rhino wall that (a) prevented any of his units from assaulting my soft, crunchy infantry, as well as (b) prevented any of my infantry from moving into assault range of his units if they happened to be hit with a psychic Lash.

I shouldn’t have worried. Leigh managed to do exactly nothing in the next turn, not with his Lash attacks (psychic hood + Sororitas save shut him down), not with his Vindicator (which scattered wildly), and not even after assaulting my Rhino wall with powerfists and Monstrous Creatures – because I had been moving at Cruising speed the previous turn, he simply couldn’t get in a good shot. I maneuvered more Sororitas units into range, and at the start of his third turn, he had only half a unit of Berzerkers, half a unit of Raptors, and his two Daemonic creatures left.

Now that the Rhino wall had slowed down, I began to lose a few vehicles, but the weight of numbers was entirely against Leigh’s favor. It took me two more turns, and there were some entertaining moments throughout (such as Leigh’s decision to forgo an invulnerable save on his Greater Demon, so that it would lose its last wound when a nearby vehicle exploded, thus allowing him to earn a tertiary objective point for having one of his own units get wiped out by exploding vehicles), but I eventually tabled his forces. In return, I had lost (or had immobilized) six of my transports, and lost just two infantry squads – both of them relatively expendable (against Marine Equivalent lists) Dominion squads.

Turning the Tables.
Leigh made two big mistakes in this game that really sealed his fate. His first was in choosing to ‘castle up’ in one corner of the table – it meant that he simply didn’t have a whole lot of room to maneuver, and with my initial charge, I was able to pin him quite neatly into his corner. Even had he gone first, as he had expected, it’s difficult to see what he could have done to change that set-up – he simply didn’t have very many units that could slow down my transports, and I had significantly more vehicles than he did.

Secondly, Leigh compounded his mistake by moving TOWARD me during his turn, instead of moving AWAY. By moving toward me, he not only made it easier for my transports to pick-and-choose where I wished to trap and destroy him, but he also closed the range against an army designed to kill things entirely at close range. Once he had done these two things, it was basically game over but for the fiddly details, and indeed, there was never any point during the rest of the game when Leigh’s forces really threatened to turn the tide of events. Even had he had a monstrously lucky turn (or two), it was too steep an uphill climb that he faced, tactically speaking.

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