Friday, January 1, 2010

12 December 2009 Inner Circle Holiday Beatdown (Game 1)

Opponent: Thomas Jackson (Mechanized Space Marines). Tom and I had played a game years ago, back during my Rebel Grot-themed IG army days (that’s back in the days of 3e, to give people an idea of how long it’s been). An enthusiastic fellow with a distinctive DIY Chapter (the Void Marines), Tom called me out on a challenge to start the tournament, and so I ended up facing a Space Marine army list that had been designed by very Stelek-like principles (YTTH) – lots of small units, lots of spam and firepower, and lots of mechanization.

Army: (1850 pts)
  • 1x Tigerius Special Character
  • 5x 5-man Tactical Squads (no upgrades)
  • 5x Razorbacks for Tac Squads (2x Las-Plas, 2x Twin-Las, 1x Twin-AssCan)

  • 3x Dreadnoughts with Twin-Lascannon and Missile Launcher
  • 3x Vindicators

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: Nearly empty table, with some high LOS-blocking hills in three corners, some sparse woods and ruins providing cover along the perimeter, and a flat, open table in-between. A total killing zone.

What happened?
With no point in my using the Liber Heresius wargear item, we just went for a roll-off, which I won. I set up my units in two lines, right in the center of my deployment zone, while Tom responded by spreading his units across his entire frontage – Dreads holding the center (in cover, in the woods), with Vindicators to their left (his right), two Razorbacks hull-down behind a hill to the far left (his far right), and the other three in cover around the ruins to the right (his left). Tigerius jumped into the twin-AC Razorback, which was one of the three on the right (Tom’s left).

With not many other options, I moved up all 12 vehicles, popping smoke on the front six, and taking cover behind them with the other six. Per Tom’s suggestion, I also made sure to spread out the vehicles, to prevent his Vindicators from trying to target two at once under the “hole” of the large template. Tom adjusted the LOS of several of his vehicles on the flanks, and immobilized or killed four of my vehicles, forcing me to detour around them.

I chose to detour to the right, toward the bulk of his Troops (as opposed to trying to go after Vindicators). Several units scrambled between transports, with as many Melta-units as possible getting into mobile transports, and my remaining eight transports again moved up, blowing smoke and creating more cover. Tom’s second round of fire killed or immobilized four more, leaving me with just one Rhino and three Immolators still active!

At this point, I was deep in despair, but hey – it was a tournament, so I kept playing. Four units of Sisters made it to his lines (with several others dashing about between immobilized “bunker” hulks, and giant craters in the ground), and I suddenly saw just how nasty this army design of mine could be: I popped two of his Razorbacks, and the walls of the transports prevented Tom from easily reaching the units that had disembarked to blow up his vehicles. His third turn was wildly ineffective.

My fourth turn was a game-changer: flamers and meltas and a wildly lucky Hammer of Witches wiped out a unit of Tac Marines (and the Special Character Tigerius that accompanied them!), two Dreadnoughts were badly damaged, the third Razorback on the right flank was destroyed, and the remaining two units of Tactical Marines on that side were pinned, and forced to flee, respectively. Tom’s follow-up from Vindicators scattered wildly – he immobilized one of his own Dreadnoughts and blew up a number of his own marines, and the two remaining Dreadnoughts lacked the ability to chew up my 3+ armor save units in close combat. He had tied up two units of Celestians, but with the Palatine and her Book of St Lucius nearby, they weren’t likely to go anywhere – and they didn’t.

With my other units free to act, I spent the rest of the game maneuvering to protect my sudden change in fortunes. The Emperor continued to smile on the Sisters, as I was able to immobilize (and then destroy the weapons off of) two Vindicators with nothing more than flamers and bolters. The third was reduced to a smoking hulk, and that left Tom trying desperately to pick off just…one…more… Battle Sister at long range with his two remaining active units (the two Razorbacks on the far left flank), to prevent me from capturing three objectives to his two. We went a full seven turns, but with just two long-range weapons left, and unwilling to move his Razorbacks off the objectives he had captured, Tom simply wasn’t able to put enough firepower through the mangled wreckage of vehicles in the middle of the table to pick off enough of my models.

The game ended with a 3 objective to 2 victory for me – and had it ended on turn six, would have been a 3 to 1 objective victory (I had sent a few units to contest his objectives, which further diluted his firepower as he was forced to deal with them). I also had collected three “Kill Points” for several of those Voidmarine units and transports I had massacred on the right (his left) flank.

Turning the Tables.
Tom did have some abominably bad luck in this game, but one thing he did do that hurt him was cluster three of his Troops choices near the center of his deployment zone. Spreading out as he did really made it impossible for me to go after any large chunk of his army at once, but by clustering three Troops choices (and their Razorbacks) together as he did, he essentially presented me with just such a target. I think he would have been far better off spreading out his Vindicators AND his Dreadnoughts, and interspersing them with his softer, “crunchier” scoring units. Instead, Tom clustered his forces into four small batteries, and given that one (the two Razorbacks on the extreme left flank) was too far for me to get to, and that two more (the Vindicators, and the Dreadnoughts) really weren’t worth much, that meant….well, you see what I mean.

Second, Tom chose to stand his ground when it became clear in turn 2 which battery of units I was going after. Had his Razorbacks chosen to scoot back and away, while the rest of his guns continued to pound me, things probably would have gotten very messy for the Sisters. Instead, Tom chose to stay still and open fire with three more heavy weapons, which in the end managed to knock down only one more vehicle. The trade-off probably wasn’t worth it.

Finally, Tom also panicked rather badly in the fourth turn, and starting firing his Vindicators much too close to his own models, and paid the price when his Ordnance scattered onto his own units. He would have been far better off trusting to his other weapons to do the shooting at close quarters, and aim the Vindicators at safer targets not near his own. Much of what caused the swing of fortune in Turn 4 can be attributed to the damage that S10 friendly-fire Ordnance blasts did to the Voidmarines that were trying to slow the tide of Sisters.

No comments:

Post a Comment