Friday, June 11, 2010

22 May 2010 “Planet Urr-Ass” Warmonger 40K Tournament (Game 2)

Opponent: Vinny (Sisters of Battle).  A very odd duck, Vinny was fielding a very mixed bag of forces, heavy on Exorcists (converted from Marine Whirlwinds, not the “Church Organ” variety currently sold by GW), and backed by Chimeras and inducted Guardsmen.  If nothing else, it was quite beautifully painted, but I wasn’t sure how it would match up against a rather sleeker, punchier (at close range) force like my own.

Army: (1850 pts)
  • Jumppack Canoness (with Cloak, Inferno Pistol, Blessed Weapon, and Book)
  • Jumppack Canoness (with Cloak, Mantle, Master-Crafted Eviscerator, and Book)
  • Junior Inquisitor with Tarot, 2 Mystics, and 3 Heavy Bolter Servitors
  • 2x 10 Sisters (Heavy Flamer, Meltagun, Veteran with Book) in Rhino with Extra Armor, Smoke, and Searchlight
  • 1x 7 Grey Knights (with two Psycannons)
  • 1x 5 Inducted IG Platoon Command (with 4 Flamers, in Chimera with Multi/HFlamer)
  • 2x 10 Inducted IG Squad (with Grenade, Autocannon, in Chimera with Multi/HFlamer)
  • 3x Exorcist
Mission: Pitched Battle/Seize Ground (12” deployment and 2 objectives)

Terrain: Cityfight. An enormous low ruin dominated the center of the table, with two-story ruins on three of the four corners, and a huge (five-story) ruined building offset a ways from the fourth corner of that large center ruin.  The huge building happened to be in Vinny’s corner in this game.  The two objectives were placed on two adjacent corners of the enormous ruined area in the center of the table, one in Vinny’s deployment zone and one in my deployment zone.

What happened? 
Red dots indicate objective markers.

Having won the first turn, I deployed in a line as far forward as possible in my deployment zone, and immediately rushed forward with all transports, with the infantry Autocannon support sitting back and shooting at long range.  Vinny had deployed essentially in two blocks: four vehicles (and accompanying units) on his far right – my far left flank – and four vehicles (and accompanying units) on his center left – half his army guarding each approach around the sides of the huge low ruin in the middle of the table.  I split four transports off to my left, to deal with half of Vinny’s forces, and sent five transports to my right.

"Ladies and gentlemen... start your engines!"

In hindsight, I probably could have used a 3/6 split, as I sent 4 transports against the punchier half of Vinny’s forces (2 exorcists backed by the Canonesses and two transports), and lost most of that force stalling them, while eating the other half of Vinny’s forces (due to a little bit of luck) over two turns with my other 5 transports.  But it might have been a bit safer to send six on that side, and try to delay with just three.

Regardless, the essential strategy worked quite well.  Vinny had one chance to make an adjustment to the overall strategy – he could have shifted his units around in his backfield, chosen to overwhelm one of my two assaults, or otherwise caused me serious problems.  Instead, he chose to also split his forces in half, and we ended up fighting two battles, side-to-side.  On the left flank (his right flank), I lost two units of Arbites and one unit of Celestians, and had all four Immolators immobilized or destroyed… but tied up that side of the table for three full turns, even killing half of the forces over there.

On the other side of the table, however, I had a good deal more good fortune – my supporting  Autocannons had better lines of fire, there was more open ground, and I had five transports full of nasty, as compared to just four vehicles for Vinny.  By the bottom of the third turn, I had eliminated everything on that flank with minimal losses (just my Inquisitor, really), and was turning to deal with the battered remnant of Vinny’s army.

"Hey, that's a very pretty Exorcist you got there.
Shame if something was to happen to it.

You know, like a meltagun at close range or something."
At which point, we had played three full turns, and had just 12 minutes left to play in a two-hour-long match.  Vinny, it must be said, is NOT a fast player.

Having counted on AT LEAST four turns, I selfishly needed at least another turn to capture at least one objective (currently, it was a zero-to-zero draw), so I played a superfast five-minute turn, collapsing most of Vinny’s left flank (leaving him with two half-strength units, one Exorcist, and two fully operational Canonesses in the whole game) and securing my own objective in the process.  I then spent seven minutes explaining to Vinny why he couldn’t win NOR tie the game, with his Canonesses (the only fast-moving units left in his army) out of position to contest my objective, and his Troops choices too far away to capture his objective, even if he could miraculously clean off the five or six units currently contesting it.

Regardless, a Massacre win for me in four (barely) turns, with well over half my forces still intact (and Vinny with less than a quarter of his still alive).  Sigh.

Turning the Tables
The simple strategic response Vinny could have made, was to reshuffle his vehicles in his backfield and send the bulk of his forces after the smaller of my two assault waves.  Instead, he kept his army split evenly in two, and my slightly unweighted approach steam-rolled one of his two flanks.  He had an opportunity to do the same thing to me at the start of the first turn, but did not.  Instead, Vinny shifted his vehicles only slightly in order to maximize his firepower (at vehicles of mine that had all popped smoke, no less).  In all, he killed two Immolator transports on my right flank (the stronger flank), but it availed him nothing, as the bailed-out units simply walked up and added to the fusillade in the following turns.

As a longer-term gameplay concern, Vinny is easily the slowest-playing slow-player I have ever played.  Easily.  We had very few assaults (two in total, I think, involving Canonesses in both cases), and those assaults and assault phases passed VERY quickly.  I bear at least a little responsibility for not playing faster in the first turn, not realizing the Power that is Vinny, but we averaged over 30 minutes for each of the FIRST THREE TURNS.  And keep in mind this included: Neither of us doing much complicated moving.  Neither of us doing too much shooting.  Basically no assaults.  Basically no special rules or Sisters powers going off.  Just astonishingly slow.

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