Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Tournament list test

Briefing: again, this is a long post which deals about playing with tyranids; no eldar stuff in here. And I've been writing for over an hour, so it can be a bit dense. Am, I forgot my camera at home, so no pictures in this post. This all can make the reading a bit dull; be warned.

Okay, I had my ‘Nid army list ready for action (I love old Duke Nukem 3D sentences sooo much…) and it was about time to play a couple of friendly games with it before the beginning of the Inter-Store Tournament. I arranged a battle versus one of the red shirts of my city, who also happens to be a really nice guy and a good friend of mine, and we met for the challenge of beating his new and quite cheesy Space Marines (SM) with my hyperactive bugs.

I’ve been using for some months some of the quick reference sheets published by the bloggers of From the Warp (thank you so much), so it has become a piece of cake (Nukem rules again!) the previously tedious task of setting objectives, deployments and that stuff. The dice decided that we were going to play a Seize Ground mission with three objectives, which were placed in no-man’s land and quite symmetrically – one close to the left border of the table, another to the right border and the last one more or less in the center of the table. Only the objective on the right border (from my point of view) was in cover, and it was the one deployed by my opponent. I deployed mine in the open because, although I don’t know why, there seems to be a psychological rule saying that if one objective is in cover, you must reach & hold it as soon as possible; whereas if the objective is in the open, it becomes much less tempting, and you’ll have time in the last turns to approach and take it. I didn’t want to see quick-deploying marines reaching the objectives in turn 1 (or 2) and entrench there, where they would be difficult to throw out; and I had also been reading some tactical thoughts about placing objectives in the open in The Way of Saim-Hann blog, so I wanted to give this tactic a try.

Once the objectives were placed, the dice decided for a Dawn of War deployment, what had me taking first turn and deploying my Hive Tyrant and his retinue in the very center of the table, with one unit of spinegaunts to the right and another to the left. While deploying I had a funny idea and deployed the gaunts in a row, so I had the imaginary line that divided the board in two halves almost completely covered with my ‘nids. This was a great tactical movement, because in Dawn of War the player who deploys second can place his units anywhere in his own half of the board but not closer than 18” to any enemy unit. My deployment effectively restricted his deployment area to a maximum of 6-7” from his own table border, thus preventing his squads from occupying the ruins he had in his half of the board because they were placed more towards the center of the table. I’ll have to write down this tactic for further battles… The SM deployed a tactical unit in a rhino close to the right border, obviously aiming at capturing the objective in cover, and a squad of scouts in a building placed really close to my table border (pesky infiltration rules); while I declared that my Broodlord was attempting a flank advance (more pesky infiltration rules).

My opponent failed to seize initiative and the battle began. All my army but the infiltrating Broodlord came from my border, and the scouts were annihilated by a fire storm of fleshborers, deathspitters and devourers (my dakkafex killing three of them), while the Hive Tyrant advanced lonely and the spinegaunts in the center of the table lurked while waiting for additional synapse control. In his turn, my friend deployed a drop pod (my first drop pod!) with a tactical squad and a Chaplain in the left side, backed by a Land Speeder Tornado, and a Land Raider Crusader with seven assault terminators (four with thunder hammers) in the center of the board. The termies disembarked and run towards the Tyrant, while a squad of devastators ran behind the Land Raider towards a good-and-in-cover fire point.

At this point, I had to change all my tactical principles. The seven-man termie squad was by far superior in hand-to-hand combat to any of my units, even my Hive Tyrant. The new storm shields rules give them a 3+ invulnerable save, so an assault with my Tyrant or my ‘fexes would result in perhaps a termie or two less and surely a big bug less in my army, something I couldn’t afford if I wanted to win. What could I do then? Well, fortunately my army has a good resource to deal with these events, and it’s my brand new “Wound Saturation Tactic”; or in more common words, “fire everything over there”. Deathspitter and barbed strangler templates, coupled by fleshborer and devourer fire would help me thinning the ranks of these super-humans. So the Tyrant withdrew shamelessly (and running!) towards my table border while most of my army fired relentlessly to the terminators. Meanwhile, a Zoanthrope took control of the left flank, and the Broodlord deployed in the right side (pity, because I wanted him in the left side in order to eat that chaplain) and finished with the SM tactical unit that had already (and predictably) occupied the objective in cover in a single close combat round (he killed five marines and his retinue another five - perfect result). I didn’t know that units who flanked could assault the very turn they entered the table, but one of the redshirts nicely pointed in the rulebook that non-assault-when-you-deploy rules are only applicable to deep striking units. Good new for my stealers, indeed; and second squad out for the SM army.

My opponent moved his troops, and while his Land Raider and terminators advanced forward, his devastators reached a good-and-in-cover firing point; and the squad of the chaplain occupied some ruins close to the objective to the left. A rain of fire was directed towards my heavy Carnifex, and after failing a big bunch of armour saves, he was dead; as it was later the zoanthrope controlling the left flank (the remaining zoanthrope moving towards there to prevent the gaunts from falling back). In return, another Carnifex charged and destroyed the Land Raider, and some terminators died to acid projectiles. With the destruction of the Land Raider, the enemy’s forces were severely damaged, leaving (literally) a big hole in the center of his battleline, but nonetheless the SM kept pushing forward.

I was taking the upper hand, but the battle was far from won. His Chaplain squad could advance at any moment and contest the left side objective, hold by the moment by my gaunts, his devastators could do the same with the central objective, and his terminators were heading towards the right side objective. Besides, he had a fast moving Land Speeder that could contest any objective. But I knew that everything he could get at that moment were contested objectives, so I had a draw assured at minimum. I went for the win, firing wildly to the terminator unit until only two members remained, and then, to my surprise, they failed their morale test and flew, unable to regroup due to the proximity of my Broodlord and his retinue!! This unexpected event, coupled with the destruction of the rhino by the tyranid warriors, left the right side objective in my hands without opposition. The Land Raider-destroyer Carnifex advanced and engaged the devastators in close combat, finishing them. The central objective was also mine! And at this point, in the 6th turn, my opponent elegantly conceded defeat because all he could do was contesting one objective (the left one) with his Chaplain squad and another with his Land Speeder while I kept one controlled. Tyranid victory!

Some thoughts after the battle: I felt really uncomfortable during most of the battle, because I’m not used to face better hand-to-hand units than mine, but luckily I was cold-blooded enough to keep exploiting the strongest points of my army and, although using my troops in a somehow odd way, managed to achieve a good result. Placing two objectives in the open was a great idea too, because my opponent didn’t dare to approach them at the beginning of the game and preferred to stay in cover, close to them; which allowed me to swarm them with my gaunts to control/contest them. My opponent didn’t play very well, he should have advanced the Land Raider at top speed and disembark the termies in front of my lines, directly assaulting them, instead of walking through the battlefield while being shot to death (although at a very low rate thanks to that incredible armour). My inability to deal with vehicles was stated again; it was a lucky roll what I got to destroy the Land Raider, but the Land Speeder was a constant pain I couldn’t shoot down; and it took me four turns to destroy a fast-moving and empty rhino in close combat – and it needed to be stunned first with a deathspitter salvo. I think I’m gonna have trouble with mechanized lists.


suneokun said...

Great battle report - thoroughly enjoyed it. I would suggest breaking it up into turn sequence - but that's just nit-picking. I can't believe you managed to out-shoot spacemarines - well done!

I think you were pretty lucky as the opponenet seems to have dropped a juicy target down your gullet at every turn - but it also sounds like it was pretty close.

Juahn F'rann said...

You're right. I was lucky, and my opponent didn't play very well. My central line should have been smashed by his terminators, as well as most of my monstruous creatures but they were footslogging targets during most of the battle, and I was able to kill most of them after four shooting rounds. Add to this the quick destruction of the scouts, the tactical squad and the Land Raider and about half of his army was out of the game after turn 3.

Glad to hear you liked the report. Next one I'll divide them in more paragraphs, and add pictures (I promise).