Friday, January 1, 2010

Retrospective: 2 Aug ’09 Counteroffensive VI (Game 4)

Opponent: Eric (Necrons). A Dream Wizards store local, Eric and his buddy were there to pick up a few weekend games during the Counteroffensive event. Eric was a brand-new 40K player, and had with him a very sizable Necron army that he was still working on. He was interested in fielding almost everything he had, so we threw down 2000 points of models, with me adding a few extra units to my 1500 point list to bump it up to points. A very upbeat and sporting fellow, we played a happily slow-paced Sunday morning game so that we could talk out his options, and I could introduce him to the Tau rules and special equipment.

Army: (2000 points)
  • 1x Lord with Resurrection Orb, and 19 Necron Warriors
  • 1x Destroyer Lord with Resurrection Orb, and 4 Destroyers
  • 2x 14 Necron Warriors
  • 2x 5 Scarabs
  • 1x 4 Heavy Destroyers
  • 1x Monolith

Mission: “Seize Ground” (objectives) and Pitched Battle (12” deployment)

Terrain: Two large terrain pieces on each of our deployment flanks, providing both elevation and blocking LOS – I had a stone tower (on my left flank) and a two-building multi-story complex (on my right flank), whereas Eric had a tall hills on his right flank (my left), and a chunky bunker on his left flank (my right). My side of the table was otherwise empty, save for a (very) small, (very) low wall in my middle. Eric had a mess of craters and small groves of trees providing cover all along his table edge.

With five objectives rolled for, we placed the four objectives on each of the large LOS-blocking terrain pieces in the table corners, and one right in the middle.

What happened?
Eric deployed one of the x14 Necron Warrior units behind the hill on his right, placed the x19 Necron Warrior (with Lord) unit in/around the terrain in his middle, and put both his units of Destroyers on his right flank, hidden behind the chunky bunker (it was quite substantial and very LOS-blocking). His other unit of Warriors were in reserve with the Monolith, and his two Scarab units were also held in reserve.

I spread my forces across the entire open middle of my deployment zone, with Scouts (Pathfinders) hunkering down in the terrain pieces on either flank, the Stoneship (Hammerhead) deployed on the roof (!!) of the building complex on my right with one of the Scouts units, and mixing Suit unit, Brave (FW), Suit unit, Brave (FW), etc in between.

To start the game, Eric stole the initiative, moved up his units, and I responded by doing basically nothing. Things got more interesting in Turn 2, when his Monolith and one unit of Scarabs deep-struck into the game; his Monolith landed right in front of the middle of my lines, shredded one unit of the Brave (FW), and took down a transport (Devilfish). A unit of Scarabs also dropped behind my lines, and looked menacing.

I responded by dropping all 14 Warriors (who promptly vanished, as no other Warrior units were nearby), and blew away the Monolith with massed Railgun fire. However, I had only enough firepower remaining to kill three of the five Scarabs, who promptly assaulted one of my units of Hornsuits (B-sides), taking them out of the game for a few turns.

In turn 3, I wiped out the Heavy Destroyers and pinned the large 20-man Necron Warrior (plus Lord) unit. Yes, every so often Ld10 critters DO fail a pin check. Freed of having to worry about that large unit, I then moved up the following turn and rapid-fired that large unit into oblivion, Tank-shocking his Destroyers out of the way with my last transport (Devilfish) in order to get a unit of the Brave (Fire Warriors) into position. To my great surprise, the Destroyers failed their Leadership test and promptly fled right off the table. To add insult to injury, my Hornsuits finally beat down the last of the Scarabs that had assaulted them, and were now ready and available to continue shooting.

By this point, Eric had only one x14 Necron unit, and a unit of Scarabs still in Reserve. The Warriors were in hiding (and he was one Necron model away from phase-out, anyway), and because I was going second, the Scarabs weren’t likely to contest anything. After talking this out, he conceded the game. I had lost a grand total of: one transport (Devilfish), and had scoring units on 4 objectives. Eric had one.

Turning the Tables.
Although Necrons are a hard list to play in the 5th edition, anyway, there were a few things that could have improved Eric’s odds a little. First, his decision to deep-strike his Monolith in the MIDDLE of my lines simply meant that all my army could see and shoot back the following turn. He might have wanted instead to deepstrike on a flank, using the bulk of the Monolith to block off LOS, and isolate one or two of my units in the process. Also, he chose to deepstrike with just a x14 unit, instead of the x19+Lord unit, which would have been more resilient.

Further, given that I had setup first, Eric would have been better off concentrating on moving everything up one side of the table, and flanking me, instead of trying to move up the middle (as he did with his walking unit of x19+Lord), and getting shot, once again, by my whole army.

Second, fielding two small units of DIFFERENT unit types simply meant that, once the unit had all dropped, they weren’t making We’ll Be Back rolls. Eric would have been better off using all Destroyers (or conversely, all Heavy Destroyers) instead of fielding a small unit of each, and just keeping the models all near each other (which he did).

Finally, splitting his units of Necrons Warriors and placing them in three very different places on the board simply meant that it was easy for me to isolate and destroy each unit piecemeal. His strategy of keeping his phase-out number of models “safe” just meant that I wasn’t worrying about them for the whole game; and the strategy would have worked better if he had a Tomb Spider back there with them, so that isolated and fully wiped-out Necron units could STILL get WBB rolls due to the Tomb Spider’s rules.

The pinning and tank-shock leadership failure were just bad luck, but that happens sometimes.

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