Friday, June 11, 2010

22 May 2010 “Planet Urr-Ass” Warmonger 40K Tournament (Game 1)

Opponent: Jeff (Tyranids).  A boisterous fellow convinced utterly of the fundamental weakness of his choice of codex, Jeff insisted that my masses of flamers and meltas would make short work of his forces.  I was a bit less certain either of his convictions was actually the case, but isn’t that what you play the game for – to find out?

Army: (1850 pts)
  • Swarmlord and one accompanying Tyrant Guard
  • 2x 3 Hiveguard
  • 2x 8 Genestealers
  • 2x Tervigons
  • 2x 10 Termagants
  • 3x Trygons
Mission: Dawn of War/Annihilation.  The mission had a modified KP rule, with HQs worth 3 VP, Troops and Transports worth 1 VP, ‘newly created’ units worth 0 VP, and all other units worth 2 VPs.

Terrain: Cityfight.  A moderate quantity of ruined buildings were scattered across the field, with two of the bulkiest buildings right in the center of the table.  In all, there was more than enough terrain to force my transports to split up and have to pick one of several avenues of advance, and plenty of cover everywhere, but very little actual LOS-blocking, apart from my vehicles neatly blocking my own LOS at ground level….oops.

What happened? 
Jeff got to set-up, and move, first.  He began with one Tervigon and one unit of Termagants on the table, and moved all other units off his table edge at the start of the first turn – save the Genestealers, which he sent to outflank.  The Trygons anchored both of his flanks, with the Swarmlord and Hive Guard advancing up the center, and the Tervigons angled off to the right (Jeff’s left) flank.  In all, it was a fairly wide deployment, covering most of Jeff’s table edge.

I had set up two Autocannon squads in elevated cover, and then chose to move all my units onto the table, and decided to punch the transports straight up the middle.  This was, of course, the exact moment where I lost the game – because I chose to send virtually all my (short-ranged) forces into a bottle-neck in the center of the table, right at the center of the Tyranid line.  Jeff could hardly believe his luck, and after blocking my advance (killing my lead transports and moving up with his uber-nasty Swarmlord), collapsed both his flanks in on me and began popping transports and eating the soft-skinned humies inside.
A bottleneck, plugged by two Trygons, a Tervigon, some Gaunts,
and a Swarmlord.  Oh, and the other Tervigon and all the Hive
Guard are just off to the sides, behind those buildings.  Ick.

Because Sisters of Battle are incredibly resilient, Jeff managed to eliminate only three units of actual infantry despite jumping my army with his, but combined with the five transports he managed to wreck over the course of the game, it was more than enough for him to get the victory.  In turn, my slapdash, ill-advised, and badly implemented assault managed to kill a grand total of…. three Tyranid units: a Tervigon, one unit of original Termagants, and a Trygon.  Were it not for the two units of Genestealers who came off the flank one unit at a time (and got Immolated for their ultimately futile efforts), I would have had even fewer Kill Points than I had.  The two units of Termagants that I DID manage to immolate counted (of course) for zero VP, due to mission rules.  Augh.

Here, have some Termagants.  They're worth 0 KP if you kill 'em.
Or you can let them run around and eat you.  Your choice.

There was an entertaining moment in the fourth turn when Jeff and I both realized that Jeff’s Tyranid army was a total 2000 points (as opposed to my 1850 points), and feeling awful about it, Jeff pulled two Trygons off the table in apology.  He wanted them to count toward my KP total, which would have put us at a 10-10 tie for the game, but given how little those two Trygons had done in the game (they basically spent the game wandering around the flanks of the Tyranid horde, rolling “1”s on their Fleet-of-Foot), I insisted that wasn’t hardly fair.  I had played like a moron, and Jeff had done the right thing, and deserved his 10-6 KP minor victory.

Turning the Tables

Obviously, the biggest thing I could have done in this game was play smarter – and not try to drive all my transports up the center of the table into the heart of a Tyranid army.  I also shouldn’t have tried to drive all my transports up the center of the table and get them jammed up in a bottleneck between two buildings.  Given these two changes in overall strategy, I think my Sisters would have done a lot better had they picked either of the two (more relatively open) flanks to roll up and stuck with it – probably the right flank (Jeff’s left flank) which had a lot of relatively large, slow units of Tervigons and Hive Guard. 

Jeff’s big problem in the game was his own set-up, where he had spread his entire army across most of his long table edge, and he had compounded that decision by moving toward my lines as fast as possible, but instead of trying to take advantage of either of his choices, I instead played like a moron.  Jeff, on the other hand, most assuredly did not, and thus he ended up with the “W”.

At the very least, my playing differently from the start would have made the game a good deal closer than it was.  In the game I actually played, I dug myself into a hole in the very first turn, and spent the rest of the game trying (futilely, as it turned out) to dig my way out of it.

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