Despite coming amazingly close to challenging Ben to a game this week, there was a guy that routinely attends who I can’t remember his name, so I challenged him instead. I talk a lot (ok, probably too much), but one of the great advantages of doing so is that I wind up repeating myself throughout the game. That aspect of repetition helps to reinforce concepts—like people’s names. Now, there’s no way I’m going to forget J-Rod’s name.
In rolling up missions, we wound up with seize ground (3 objectives) and spearhead (table quarters). In dicing off for first turn, I won, and opted to go first.
Typically I don’t opt to go first in objective gathering missions. Going second let’s me grab an objective in the end, and allows me to react to how my opponent deploys; however, going first allows me to choose the table quarter, use the scout moves with my Storm effectively, and place 2 of the three objectives. Really, the latter was the overwhelming reason I wanted to go first. I figured I could put both of those objectives in my deployment area and force him to come to me behind the hills. Thereby nullifying his ranged shooty, and draw him into close quarters fighting.
As this is the first game I played with J-Rod, he expressed a disinterest in “cheesy” objective placement. Though I don’t see anything wrong with placing both objectives in my deployment area—I certainly want to play so that everyone has fun, so I settled and just put the 3rd objective in the dead center of the board. In hindsight, placing that objective in the center was a serious downfall—as it removed the key strategic advantage I had in going first. Ultimately, maybe I should’ve let him place it in the middle, if I could go second?
That aside, it turned out to be a fairly slow game for a few reasons. He and I are both old-time gamers and we remember a lot of rules from previous editions. To ensure we’re in the clear, that means we look up a lot of rules as the game goes on. Couple that with the fact that I didn’t have a list built prior to showing up (shame on me), and J-Rod was often preoccupied with a nearby game, and that slows things down a bit. Ultimately we weren’t able to finish this game, but we got far enough that we agreed upon an eventual outcome…
A few weeks back I was toying with the idea of building an army around the Culexus assassin. Essentially it was just a lot of things that forced leadership checks. When coupled with his ability to get close and reduce an enemy’s leadership, it was worth a shot, right?
In winging the army creation on the spot, and going with what I had models for—it left something to be desired. I’d have preferred to take a whirlwind over the vindicator, and my lack of long-ranged weaponry would prove to make things a little rough…
On the other side of the board, J-Rod had a well-balanced force. He had four troops squads, extra ranged firepower (in the form of a whirlwind, predator, & dev squads), mobility (razorback, speeder, attack bike, jump-captain). He also had a bunch of anti-mech, and enough bolters to provide a sufficient defense against a horde army. In looking at his composition, the only serious doubt I have is that he took Chronos. I’m not a fan of ‘em…
When I chose my side, it was based upon hiding behind the hill and having him come to my objectives. Once we placed the 3rd objective in the middle, that necessarily changed my strategy. I was going to have to advance to the center (eventually) and hold both of those. Unfortunately, there was very little
(if anything) to give me cover saves in my deployment area—and what little cover I could get for infiltrators was largely nullified by his deployment/infiltrators.
As a result, I deployed using the hills as protection for most of my force. One squad of scouts deployed on the north edge to pepper his two rear squads, along with the Cullexus (hoping to deploy close in order to “spook” his core units). Missing from the deployment picture are his landspeeder (deployed in the center of the board on the north side), and his attack bike (deployed behind the building with the whirlwind).
His deployment took advantage of cover and high ground well. His missile launchers, whirlwind, and NE scout squad would have unmolested lines of fire at my entire army for much of the game.
Turn 1: Ultramarines
After he’d failed to seize initiative, my landspeeder storm snuck into the heart of his army and flamed the plasma cannon squad. Doing two wounds, that broke the squad (with the help of the cullexus), and they stopped less than an inch from running off the board (Drat!). The scouts charged the other combat squad nearby and between the cerebus launchers, combat results, and cullexus, that squad didn’t stand a chance at making the check. Sadly, the scouts rolled a 1 for consolidation and couldn’t make it into cover.
Elsewhere on the battlelines, my vindicator devastated his nearby scout squad (leaving only the heavy bolter) and the attack bikes immobilized the razorback. None of my snipers were effective at doing anything this turn.
While J wasn’t pleased with the amount of damage I’d caused, I figured it was largely superficial and expected retaliation…
Turn 1: Generic Marines
As expected, retaliation was fairly brutal. He’d moved up his attack bike & landspeeder and started taking pot shots at things.
Much of his abuse was focused on my Inquisitorial retinue. His scouts, missile launchers, & whirlwind all fired at that squad. Luckily he was only able to do enough wounds to take out my sages and my mystic, along with doing a wound to my Inquisitor. Stupid mistake for me though was forgetting to give my Inq a psycannon. L
Other noteable damage was the smoking crater that used to be my assault squad. His captain dropped an orbital strike right in the thick of the squad and killed 5 guys. Forgetting wound allocation rules, I killed off my sarge with a power weapon instead of allocating the wound to someone who wasn’t under the template. Doh! I was definitely not bringing my A game.
Elsewhere, the scout speeder died to bolter fire, and all but one of it’s previous passengers also fell in a hail of that caseless ammunition. While half his army missed it’s shots completely, the other half certainly hit the mark.
Turn 2: Ultramarines
Everything advanced (that wasn’t standing still to fire heavy weapons), but my turns started to get significantly quicker at this point. My goal here was to kill off any of his scoring units near the center of the board and advance my assaulty squads into combat. The best shooting I was to have this turn was to plink off a few guys from each of his smaller squads though. Despite having a nearby cullexus, he wasn’t failing any of his leadership checks—and the fact that my sniper rifles weren’t doing any wounds wasn’t helping at all…
My cullexus saw a huddled mass of plasma cannons and pounced. Since they hadn’t run when I shot one dead, I figured I’d just clean ‘em up in the assault. Then I realized that a Cullexus doesn’t come with a power weapon. What’s up with that? He’s already—hands down—the worst option for assassins, but he sucks in hand to hand to boot? I can’t understand why they didn’t give him a power weapon. Because of this oversight, this began what would come to be three or four turns of whiffing in combat…
I did manage to kill off his landspeeder with a plasma pistol. I believe that was the only real significant damage I did this turn.
Turn 2: Generic Marines
A new turn, a new victim. This time, his army focused on my assault marines. He declared he was going to charge them with his 3 man tactical squad, and I was fine with that—seeing as I had a chaplain in the squad. In order to soften me up, he fired a lot of units at the marines and did minimal damage, and then came close to winning combat in the charge, but it ended up in a tie (Despite the drawing showing that he broke this turn—he actually during my next turn).
Other notable kills for him at this point included my scout sarge with powerfist and an attack bike. Although he did manage to take out his last scout in the NE with a stray whirlwind round…
Turn 3: Ultramarines
Again I advance, and again, I don’t do much in damage. My attack bike had been locked in combat with his attack bike for a turn now (I’d figured he was down a wound and I’d get an extra attack on the charge—why not?). My vindy overestimated it’s range and undershot his captain’s squad.
By now, my northern scouts figured they were doing no good where they were, and started moving in to the center objective (cautiously, mind you—they rolled a 2 for difficult terrain, and a run of 1). My decorative shotgun scouts in the SE moved up to capture the nearby objective.
The only damage I believe I did this turn was to fire a plasma cannon at Telion’s squad. I forget to make the change to the drawing at this point though, but 3 of those models should be dead. My goal here was to break his squad, so that his leader would have to stay back to hold that objective…. But, of course, they held their ground. Grrrrr.
Turn 3: Generic Marines
Any unengaged units of his rained fire on my forces from afar. Again he focused on my Inquisitorial retinue, and again they held (though taking some causalities in the process). Otherwise, I don’t believe I took any wounds at this point. As far as things go, it was a fairly quick turn.
More units charge into both seemingly tarpitted combats, but still nothing came of it.
Turn 4: Ultramarines
We were really running out of time at this point. Despite being hurried, I think I still played fairly well (though rolled incredibly badly). Shooting casualties were minimal—with my grey knights and the vindy doing a couple of sparse wounds to his commander’s squad.
In the meanwhile, I was outclassed in both assaults, so it was only a matter of time. My chaplain hopped in to show the Cullexus just how good power weapons were—and tipped the scales in their favor. Meanwhile, my attack bike had gone 4 or 5 rounds of combat without rolling a successful hit!
Turn 4: Generic Marines
Ouch. My Grey knights had forgotten to put batteries in their shrouding-generator. Virtually everything J shot at them this round could see him easily. To add insult to injury, I failed at least 70% of their armor saves as well. My elite counter assault unit which was going to easily dispatch his captain quickly was reduced to a single Justicar. Things did not look good for our hero…
In the meantime, my attack bike finally succumbed to his onslaught…
Turn 5: Ultramarines
I tried desperately to hide my justicar from his commander, but to no avail. My chappy and assassin both killed and/or broke nearby squads, but that was really ancillary to the game. They were largely out of range to really be effective at this point.
If only I’d gone second—at this point I’d have a chance…
Turn 5: Generic Marines
His leader hopped over my vindy and charged the GK Justicar. He only did one wound, but that would prove to be enough. Sadly, he was going to contest that center objective and there wasn’t much I could do about it.
Time Limit Reached!
The game didn’t end at this point, so we declared it a tie. I could’ve tank shocked him, or maybe blasted him with the vindy/telion for a possible win, but he had enough vehicles/squads that should’ve been able to move up to contest. Actually, in hind-sight, the right answer was to fire the vindy and a missle launcher at his commander, and advance with my all-sniper squad to capture the objective. I’d have had decent odds to kill his commander, and then would’ve had to rely on luck to have my snipers live through the next turn. It was a long shot, but it was about the only way I could win.
That aside, we were willing to call it a draw.
What I Learned:
- Man, that Cullexus is rough. No power weapon? Egads! I’d say he’s a fair unit at best. His ability to affect enemy leadership is nice, but he doesn’t really provide anything else to the battle, and since he can’t join units or ride in vehicles, there’s not many tricks he has to stay alive. He definitely needs to be able to take a power weapon!
- In a fun game, letting guilt put the third objective in a neutral place is alright. I was really ok with this because it was our first game. The next time I play J though, if I take first turn, I’ll place the objective where I want (in this game, it would’ve been on the East side of the Eastern building)—had it been there, he’d have had a rough time getting to it, and my snipers (which really did nothing most of the game) would’ve easily held it.
- Wound allocation. I need to get better at this. Both in my Inquisitorial squad, and my assault squad, I lost models that I should’ve kept because I wasn’t thinking things through. Pay attention!
- Scouts are good—but not at the expense of no marines. My army was lacking in long-ranged firepower. I had:
- Scout with missile launcher
- GK’s with 2x Psycannon
- Inq Retinue w/ 2x H.bolter + Plasma Cannon
- Attack bikes with 2x Multimelta
Of those, two bullet points only shoot 24” and coincidentally, those are the best at taking out armor. My army was really lacking in ranged firepower. In my experience, long range shooty is the best thing you can put in your army—better even than mech (as evidenced in my all-infantry game against the Blood Angels).