Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tigger Visits the Big Apple: 19 Nov 2011 (Part II)

It had been a hard-fought battle, and the last ninety or so minutes had been a frantic whirlwind of activity and death.  But as Krinophora-Adelphe Jones looked upon the field, it was clear to her that the “Swinging Sisters” had won this contest.  The Kurindan position was untenable, and trying to continue the battle would only result in horrific further casualties as they rushed headlong into the superior positions held by the forces of the Blessed Emperor.  There was no shame in retreat; anything else was more than futile, it was stupidity.

And yet, Theophany realized with a cold chill, the Kurindans were not falling back.  In fact, they were rushing forward with increasing speed, and she felt a sudden dull ache in her soul.  The day was not over, and the “Swinging Sisters” were not going to avoid taking pointless, meaningless fatalities.  All for an abandoned Imperial substation on a worthless little dirtball of a planet...

When several of the Rassophora-Sisters under her command looked at her in surprise, Theophany realized she was grinding her teeth so loudly that her jaw was beginning to ache as much as her soul.  “Faith in the Emperor”, she thought to herself, and barked out the order to open fire.

Phase Two:
At the start of the second phase of the game, the two sides had the following units left:

 “Swinging Sisters” (2 objectives held, one contested)

  • HQ: Archprelate “Awe/Stun” Powers (Uriah Jacobus)
  • Troop: 2x10 Sisters with Melta, Multimelta
  • Fast: 2x5 Dominions with 2xMelta, Combi-melta
  • Heavy: 2x10 Retributors with 4x Heavy Bolters
  • Heavy: Exorcist
  • Transports: 1x Rhino, 2x Immolator, 1x immobilized Immolator

Kurindans (1 contested objective)
  • Elite: 4 Hive Guard in units of 3 and 1
  • Elite: 2x Venomthropes
  • HQ/Troop: 3x Tervigon with Catalyst
  • Troop: 6 broods of 46 total Termagants
  • Troop: x5 Warriors with Deathspitters and one Venom Cannon

The Sisters of Battle opened the sixth turn by opening fire on the swarms of Termagants, wiping out the ones within assault range of my lines.  I didn’t have much firepower left to do anything else, however.

Tired of taking slow, incremental damage on his Hive Guard from Uriah and the Dominions, Kenton jumped the five Warriors into melee and quickly wiped out the old man and his accompanying Dominions.  His Tervigons, Venomthropes, and Termagants continued to rush my lines.

In the seventh turn, my Retributors and Battle Sisters wiped out more Termagants (leaving only the thirteen hiding around the objective in the depths of the large ruined building), and Kenton responded by turning his Warriors and Hive Guard onto the Dominion unit (and their Immolator) that had been busily contesting ‘his’ objective, and sniping at his Venomthropes in the meantime.  Two Dominion sisters survived the wreck and subsequent hail of bioweapon fire.

That’s a lot of Monstrous Critter just inches from my lines.
Lucky that it’s my turn to shoot ‘em, now, yeah?

Without any Venomthropes left to provide cover saves, and without any Termagant broods left to threaten my lines, I could focus my firepower at last on the three Tervigons that were now at point-blank range.  One dropped, another took 5 wounds (with one remaining).  The two survivors pounced on my lines, destroying an empty Immolator and eating through one of my two units of Battle Sisters.  At the same time, my other unit of Battle Sisters (disembarked, and sitting in the open) suffered a withering hail of fire from Warriors and Hive Guard, taking a few losses in the process.

Running low on units by this point, I spent my ninth turn blasting the exposed Tervigon (the one not eating through my Battle Sisters) to kingdom come with my Heavy Support units, ignoring for the nonce the Warriors and Hive Guard (as well as the hidden Termagants firmly sitting on the hidden objective in the building).  Kenton finished eating my Battle Sisters with his Tervigon, then shredded my nearby Exorcist, at which point I blasted it, and the Warriors, to pieces, leaving Kenton with just Hive Guard and Termagants.  They were able to send my final unit of Battle Sisters fleeing in panic, at which point Kenton and I decided to call it a (fun, productive) day.

The last Kurindan Warrior snarls defiance at
Krinophora-Adelphe Theophany Jones.  Who is
running away in panic at the moment, actually.

Final score: one contested objective, two objectives empty.  Both Kenton and I had just a few units left: in fact, I had just two units of Retributors, and badly mauled units of Dominions and Battle Sisters (the latter busy fleeing off the table) remaining.  Kenton had left just some Termagants, two mauled units of Hive Guard, and a single Warrior.

Turning the Tables:

All in all, the Tyranids found themselves in a poor position, and were consistently losing the game (that is, down on objectives held) until the tenth turn of the game.  There were probably a number of things that Kenton could have done differently to make the odds significantly better for him, such as:

(a) Not starting in Reserve (major gaffe).  Given that Tyranids typically do most of their damage later in the game, and really rely on having a single, concentrated assault to really maul opponents, starting the game two turns later (one turn in reserve, and one turn to get to the place where they would have started the game had they deployed at the start) and piecemeal means that they simply aren’t as effective.  I understand that Kenton was worried about getting shot up, but his units generate their own cover -- the Termagant swarms provide cover to everything not a Monstrous Creature, and the Venomthropes are there specifically to provide cover to the Monstrous Creatures.  Then the Tervigons start puking out more Termagants (with an effective assault range of 18” from the Tervigon’s base), and bob’s your uncle.

(b) Choosing to go second (major gaffe).  Although it seems ideal for grabbing objectives late-game, the utility is limited by the fact that games are of random length.  Having the first turn, on the other hand, is 83% reliable. Plus, the Tyranid player really could use the first turn of the game to puke out Termagants, run closer to their prey, trigger Catalyst, shoot at enemy transports, etc.

(c) Choosing to deploy the Tervigons behind LOS-blocking cover, well on the far left flank (major gaffe).  By coming in from reserve on the far flank, Kenton did ensure that I couldn’t see (or shoot) his Tervigons for several turns, but it also meant that he needed an extra turn or three to get his Tervigons into my lines – in our game, it took the Tervigons until turn EIGHT to get to my units, which were deployed about fifteen inches up, in the center of the table.  Had the Tervigons come up the middle, assuming they reserved onto the table on turn 2, they would have gotten to my lines no later than turn six (and, on average, would have managed this trick by turn five).  Had the Tervigons started on the table and come up the middle, they would have managed to get to my lines by turn 3, and well into my deployment zone by turn 4.

(d) Choosing to give Catalyst to the Tervigons, not the Termagants (moderate gaffe).  By the fourth turn of the game, it was clear that the Tervigons were going to do very little to affect the outcome of this particular game, whereas the hordes of Termagants in the open were probably going to get badly shredded by bolter and heavy bolter fire.  Giving those Termagant broods some Feel-no-Pain protection would have made it almost impossible for the Sisters of Battle to scour away those little objective-grabbing bugs.  Granted, the Sisters of Battle were foolishly not aiming at the Termagants until the fifth (!!) turn of the game, wasting a turn of firepower at extreme range on the Venomthrope-protected Tervigons.  Ah, well, the principle still applies, despite poor choices by the opponent (me).

(e) Choosing to shoot at Sisters in power armor with Hive Guard (minor gaffe).  Although the S8 shots are pretty nasty, power armor units tend to shrug off anything that isn’t AP3 or better.  S8 shots do really well against AV11 transports, however, and those transports not only gave my units mobility, it also gave them additional protection, plus acted as move-blocking mobile terrain that could contest objectives, all very annoying for the Tyranids.

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