Another Friday night, another battle: this time, I made it my mission to play against one of the guys that I can’t remember their names. I figured that if I played against them, it would help the name stick. I challenged either Cody (Iron Warriors) or Tony (Blood Angels) to a game, and Tony accepted, and set the points limit at 1750.
It’s been a while since I played a game that big, and I’m slow to make armies, but he was patient with me. While I was debating on what to field, Charles wandered over and ordered me to play an all-infantry force because “nobody ever does it.” I pride myself on mixing things up, so what the heck? Four tactical, two devs, an assault and a bike squad later, the “blue tide” was born.
For mission, we rolled up multiple objectives (3), and 12” deployment. I rolled higher and got to pick my side. At that moment I was looking for fields of fire, and the side I opted for was the only one that had hills (to setup my devs on), and the opposite side had some clumps of trees that would obstruct my heavies. I figured on playing basically a stand and shoot army that had the faster moving & special weapon combat squads move forward to take the objectives.
Normally I just have an overhead shot of my deployment, but since I had so many units—all broken into combat squads, I figured a little more detail was warranted for this mission. Below is a close-up of what units went were:
The idea was basically to deploy the heavies with the clearest lanes of fire (ie. On hills), and deploy the special weapon squads in places where they could move forward to grab objectives, or provide counter-charge punch when the eventual assaults hit me. Ideally I didn’t want to have to fire through my own units to give him cover saves, but with so many marines, it was really unavoidable. In hindsight though, I should’ve placed my heavy bolter devs behind my missile launcher—because any marine would already get a 3+ armor save against them, and they’re unlikely to do much damage to tanks. Well, that was my setup though.
It’s important to note that at the beginning of the game, Tony tried to set some ground rules. What I remember is that “all cover is 4+,” but what Tony meant was that all of the little pieces of felt were to provide cover at 4+. Since this had come up in an earlier game already, I thought I knew how everyone dealt with it. In case you haven’t read the earlier battle report, the issue is with 4th vs 5th edition terrain and “true line of sight.” In 4th, you could declare patches as forest or so, but in 5th, you’re supposed to use true line of sight (which basically means, take a model’s eye view and see if they’re in cover). I’m a fan of 4th edition cover because it allows you to field more cover without having to buy a ton of terrain, and you don’t have to constantly move things around. On the other hand, we are playing 5th edition, so I’ve opted to play with the new rules—whether I like them or not.
Needless to say this became an issue later in the game. It’s unfortunate as well, because Tony seemed like a swell guy, and I don’t want him upset with me.
Tony let his fear of devastator squads dictate where he set up. To avoid my lascannons, he piled everything in the farthest corner of the board into woods and behind buildings. Since I’ve never played against him before, I can only assume that he doesn’t typically spread his line out very much. After seeing that Corbulo only extends furious charge to models with 12” and Dante seems to have a similar aura, I suspect he tries to grant those benefits to as many models as he can (hence, clumping them together). This gives him a strong front that’s tough to deal with, and the fact that he plays an entirely mechanized force allows him the mobility to react in case something goes awry.
Turn 1: Ultramarines
This wasn’t a terribly eventful turn. Most of my lascannons were out of range (or missed), and the only real shooting I could muster only managed to stun his two assault squad rhinos. Oh, as a breakdown of his line, from left to right, his tanks were:
- Rhino – Tactical Squad ? (they never popped out to confirm)
- Rhino – Tactical Squad
- Rhino – 5man Assault Squad w/ powerfist
- Rhino – 5man Assault Squad w/ powerfist
So, as I was saying, a rather uneventful shooting phase. A few of my squads spread out to avoid the vindicator, and the mobile section of my army advanced towards the far objective, trying to flank his army.
Turn 1: Blood Angels
His force split up around the building and smoked up. Turbo charged engines hit me for a bit of a surprise, since I didn’t expect them to be able to move so far. Ultimately though, I had to remember that they were rhinos, and as close-topped vehicles, prevented units from assaulting out of them. I think this makes them an inferior choice to jump pack marines, because you have to park near me to assault me. With the new run rules, I can typically move away from you, and run and likely get out of assault range with those units, I think this makes a clear reason to choose jump packs over tanks.
His shooting was rather ineffective. The only model I remember dying at this point was a trooper off the south-eastern (powerfist) combat squad. Another model might have died in the squad next to them, but really, his shooting was about as ineffective as mine.
Turn 2: Ultramarines
I think we skipped this turn completely. Actually, with the way I was shooting at this point in the game, we should’ve. I managed to plink a couple of his tanks into not shooting me on turn 3—but those were only rhinos. The game certainly would’ve gone faster if we just skipped my turn here, and it wouldn’t have made a whole heck-of-a-lot of difference to the outcome. I did manage to shimmy some units around though (fast flankers get in position near the objective—and the assault marines move to counter assault whatever comes out of those tanks).
Turn 2: Blood Angels
Everything moves forward and shoots! What the heck?! Blood Angels aren’t supposed to have guns!
In rolling for turbo-charged engines, the two assault rhinos that couldn’t move in the first turn both rolled ones and couldn’t move in the 2nd turn either. Of course, this worked out well for me because that was two more units I didn’t have to worry about. Tony wasn’t too pleased with it though…
The Baal (moving fast) and vindy plinked away at nearby squads. The Vindicator actually missed horribly with its demolisher cannon, but rolled a great deviation. Instead of hitting a 4-man squad in cover, it landed squarely on my 4 man dev squad, who turned tail and ran for the board edge after losing everyone that wasn’t carrying a heavy bolter. Thankfully they didn’t quite make it.
Tony also pulled his attack bikes into the game here. All of them were armed with multi-meltas, and he typically uses them to punch tanks. When I didn’t deploy any tanks at the onset, he seemed to question these units’ purpose, and didn’t move them at all first turn. I’m not sure if that’s because he wanted to advance them behind the cover of his tanks, or because he didn’t have a clear target to take down with them. Whatever the case, they weren’t much of a presence in the game.
Dante & his death company were steadily moving up behind the rhino, and they would be the first unit I’d have to deal with. Unfortunately, I wasn’t having much luck stopping his mobile shield.
Turn 3: Ultramarines
I moved everything that was in easy assault range of his jump-troopers away, and opened fire with everything. A lucky lascannon shot managed to pop his Eastern Baal, and the melta gun in the ruins nuked the Vindy (thank God). Otherwise, everything fired at that stinking rhino, but it proved unkillable. The only damage I managed to do was to stop it from moving. A lucky deviation from a plasma cannon shot did manage to graze the death company to thin them out a bit though.
Turn 3: Blood Angels
Finally, the assault rhinos charged up and out of the woods. They stacked up atop of the ruins of the Baal, and prepared for a 4th turn assault. On the Western front, the attack bikes didn’t want to leave the melta gun open to pop another Baal, so they charged into combat. Of course, charging a squad with a powerfist that’s in cover isn’t necessarily the best tactic, so one died the death, but the other managed to live.
Center stage, Dante & his little friend managed to pull off a dual-assault on two combat squads. Dante slaughtered his to a man, but the death company marine didn’t manage a kill. No matter, because they won combat anyway. Lucky for me, I managed to fail my leadership and roll a 1 for break-off. Sure, it was sad to lose another 5 marines, but how juicy it was to leave Dante in the open, surrounded by so many heavy weapons!
Turn 4: Ultramarines
This is where the debate on cover came up. Dante used his consolidation last turn to move into the ruins. Since he wasn’t obscured in any way, 5th edition rules state he gets no cover save. 4th Edition rules, would’ve given him a 4+ invulnerable though. Ultimately, it didn’t matter, as the nearby missile launcher killed his friend, and Dante fell to 4 bolters, but it was rough on Tony. He had been rolling poorly for a couple of turns, and was getting noticeably frustrated.
Things weren’t looking up for him either. I managed to vaporize the closest rhino, and wreck the other two. Plasma cannons took out their associated squads, and before I could finish my shooting phase, Tony was ready to concede.
Hopefully this won’t be an issue the next time we play. I’ll make sure to clear any of these discrepancies up before we roll any dice, but that will be at least 8 months from now. Tony will be shipping off to Iraq soon, so his retribution will have to wait until he gets back. Good luck and God speed to you, sir. I’ll see you next year!
Things I Learned:
- You never have to make more than one difficult terrain test per vehicle in the movement phase. So, if you’re exiting one set of difficult terrain and entering another, you only make one test.
- Know Your Enemy. Blood Angels is yet another codex I haven’t read in a while (ie. Since 3rd edition). In my mind, everything had furious charge and turbocharged engines only gave an additional 6” of movement. All in all, it wasn’t an issue this game, since Tony really knew his rules well, but there were some slight surprises on my end caused by my lack of knowledge.
- It’s imperative to set some ground rules before the game starts. I think I’m going to make some cheat-sheets/flash cards that go over common ground rules. How to handle cocked dice, cover, etc. That way everyone’s on the same page. This isn’t to say that people have to go with my interpretation, but just so we have that discussion before it comes up. That’s what really matters.
- Infantry can beat mech. Quite readily actually. I wouldn’t mind taking the army I used vs. any 1750 point force. The only real weaknesses I had were template weapons (though I could spread out in a single turn with movement & running), and a lack of mobility (only really a concern if all of the objectives are in the opponents area).