Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Retrospective: 8 August 2010 Counteroffensive VII (Game 3)

Attendance at this particular Counteroffensive event being rather paltry, Pat and Bryan and I decided to set up a megabattle event for anyone interested in playing some 40K on Sunday 8 August.  If no-one showed up to play, we decided to play a megabattle event ourselves, pitting Pat & Bryan’s Tyranids against my Sisters of Battle.  As I’d only brought a little over 2000 points, I borrowed a few pieces from Pat’s collection, and the Dreamwizards store collection, to make up the extra points.

In the end, my 3000-point Sisters list included the following “extrys”:
  • Callidus Assassin
  • A third 5-model unit of Arbites (2 Meltaguns, 3 Shotguns)
  • A third 5-model unit of Dominions (4 Flamers, Leader with Brazier/BP)
  • ….and four extra flamers to equip the first two Dominions with a total of 4 flamers each
  • A second Inquisitor, equipped identically to the first with identical retinue
  • 3x Immolators with Extra Armor & Smoke (to transport the three units above)
  • 3x Exorcists with Extra Armor
For those of you playing the home game, that’s 12 immolators, 3 exorcists, 20 meltaguns, 15 flamers, and a smattering of Autocannons because honestly, why not.  Plus two Ld10 Psychic Hoods and five faith (‘mojo’) points for good measure.  It was really an awful army list, full of all kinds of Beatface and Sealclubbing, and other generally Not Nice things.

Opponents: Pat and Bryan combined their Tyranid forces to field 3000 points of the following:
  • Hive Tyrant and 2 Tyrant Guard
  • Hive Tyrant and 1 Tyrant Guard
  • 1 brood of 2 Hive Guard
  • 1 brood of 4 Tyranid Warriors (incl. Venom Cannon)
  • 1 large brood of 20 Hormagaunts
  • 5 broods of 8~12 Genestealers
  • 3 Trygons
  • Hive Tyrant with Wings (in reserve)
  • 1 brood of 6 Shrikes (in reserve)
  • 1 brood of 2 Zoanthropes in Spore Pod (in reserve)
Mission: Megabattle!  No real mission or objectives, just a straight-forward “shred the other side” operation.

Terrain: A huge 4x12 table with ruins and trees and hills all over the place. 

What Happened?
As the Sisters set up first, I deployed heavily to the right side of one long edge, trying to limit the angles that the Tyranids could attack me from.  I placed my Exorcists in the back center of my formation, with my allied Guardsmen on either side, in cover, then set up a row of twelve Immolators in front of all that, and three more Immolators to my ‘heavy’ right flank.  Pat & Bryan were very obliging, deploying the entirety of their army within a 4’ wide span in the right-hand (their left-hand) corner of the table, allowing me the opportunity to ‘box’ them in quite nicely.

This is what 12 Immolators and 3 Exorcists look like all together.  Gleep!

I had forgotten that Genestealers could infiltrate, so ended up deploying with a large blind spot on my right flank (where LOS was blocked by a large multi-story building), but as I retained the initiative during the first turn, this was less of a problem than it might have been otherwise.

This is what is known in the Imperial military as an “assload” of Genestealers.

My first move was fairly straight-forward: my Callidus somehow convinced the Hive Guard to wander forward into the open, where they fell to a volley of Exorcist fire.  The Tyranid Warriors also were blown to smithereens, and with the Tyranids now deprived of what little long-range firepower they had brought, the Sisters of Battle sent forward their Immolators, with half of them making a hard-right turn toward the lurking Genestealers.

The Tyranids ran forward – all except the Trygons, which mysteriously stayed stock still, hiding behind a tall rock formation at the far side of the table.

One Sisters Immolator took the ‘bait’ role and rushed into the nearest mob of Genestealers, flaming away madly.  The four remaining Genestealer broods rushed the tank, shaking it slightly but failing to do anything.  On the following turn, I tank-shocked them into a rough circle and flamed two of them to cinders.  More Genestealers rushed in, spilling the ‘bait’ out onto the turf as they ripped the Immolator to bits.  The ‘bait’, made up of a Dominion squad with four flamers and a Brazier, promptly let loose and flamed another Genestealer brood into oblivion.

The Trygons finally started to move forward.

A Spore Pod screamed down out of the sky, trying to block the LOS of the Exorcists in my back rank.  I tank-shocked it into a wet, sticky mess (note: this is no longer a viable tactic, what with the FAQ clarification on immobile models being tank-shocked), and the Exorcists started plinking away at the Trygons slithering frantically toward my lines.

My Callidus reserved onto the table, and went after the only even-slightly soft target on the Tyranid side: the Hormagaunts.  She got eaten rather decisively the following assault phase.  It was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise very long afternoon for the Tyranids.

A giant circle of flaming death.

On the right-hand side of the field, Hormagaunts and Genestealers found themselves herded together into a giant circle of flaming death.  The Shrikes chose (inexplicably) to land in the exact same place as they came out of reserve, and were flamed into oblivion a turn later.  With loads of meltaguns to spare, first one Trygon, then another, then a third, were blown to bits.

The Tyranids kept coming, killing a few more Immolators, and wiping out my ‘bait’ squad of Dominion sisters, but by the middle of the fourth turn, they had been practically annihilated – only the three Hive Tyrants remained alive, largely because I had ignored them all to this point.  Two of them were in good position to hurt an Immolator or two, but after that it was clear which way this was going to go.

The surviving members of the Hivemind contemplate their impending fate

Turning the Tables
Bryan has a good write-up and post-game analysis of what happened at the Jungle.

In short, both Bryan and Pat brought a hodge-podge of models that weren’t really designed for a competitive match.  They definitely have more Hive Guard and Tyrannofex models, all of which would have helped in this game, but instead they fielded only two Hive Guard, and two other Venom Cannons besides, which did basically nothing to stop all the armored vehicles I had zipping around.

They also set up so that they were effectively sending units at me in waves, rather than all at once.  The Genestealers were deployed in an arc, and kept clustered very close together despite the fact that I had all the flamers at my disposal.  The Trygons chose (inexplicably) to lurk for a turn before moving forward, giving my army more breathing room.  The units in Reserve probably should have started on the table, and when they entered from Reserve simply dropped into the middle of all my short-range weaponry, rather than someplace a bit safer.

So: definitely not a Fun Time for anyone.  Probably could have gone a bit better had a different match-up been proposed, as there was clearly a bit of miscommunication about what everyone should be fielding, and about what particular level of crunchy list should be fielded.  Ay, ya.  I think that at the next Counter-offensive (in 2011, one hopes), I will be making more of an effort to find out what my opponents are expecting before shredding them with my nastiest list.

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