Battle Report: Tyranids vs. "Wolfwing" (2000pts)

Taking a break from my assessment of the new nids, I figured I’d put them to the test in a game.  While theory-hammer is good, nothing helps you learn about a codex like seeing it in action.

And Oh, such a learning experience this was.  Due to our normal gaming group being closed for three weeks in a row (or was it two?), Sacrificial Kris and I scheduled an impromptu game at my place.  This was the first game I’ve ever played against a (practically) all terminator force, the first time I’d faced the new Space Wolf codex, and my first time with 5th Edition ‘Nids (well, as close as I can decipher).

I’m sure once the English codex comes out, we’ll see that the battle report is littered with errors in interpretation, but this game was really just us trying to get a feel of how our armies would fair in our upcoming Apocalypse game.

In rolling up missions, we wound up with annihilation with a board-quarters style deployment. After dicing off for first turn, I won and gave it to him.  After the game, I wondered if this wasn’t a mistake…

 

Deployment:

Kris’ army consisted of a terminator squad in a land raider, two in drop pods, and a 4th foot-slogging.  He also had a rune-priest (complete with JotWW), Logan Grimnar, and 2x lone wolves.  He deployed everything a bit back on the board with high ground for good fields of fire.  The exception were the drop pods (of course), and the lone wolves.  Since this was an annihilation mission, he actually wanted them to die (due to their special rules, they only concede kill points if they’re still alive at the end of the game).

In response, I deployed most of my units as far forward as I could while still making use of cover.  I centralized my synapse, so that even if I lost some, my lines would still hold.  My hormies opted not to deploy, simply because I didn’t really feel I had enough room.  Likewise, my genestealers opted to Outflank, and my Mawloc stirred in the ground below…

Turn 1: Marines

I learned to hate long fangs this turn.  Between them, lascannons, his sniping rune priest, and a drop pod, he took out most of a squad of termagants, two zoanthropes, and a hive guard.  In hindsight, it really wasn’t that devastating, but I figured then that my chances of harming his land raider were about zilch—unless I could make it to combat. 

KP: 1 to 0 (2)

A note on KP for this game.  Since he went first, I put his total first (makes sense), and the parenthetical two points on my side were because his lone wolves were still alive at this point. 

Turn 1: Tyranids

I advanced relatively slowly and opened fire with everything I had.  My zoanthrope hit his drop pod, but managed to roll a 1 for AP.  Strength 10, AP1, lance… can’t kill a drop pod.  I did manage to blow it’s gun off though—so it never shot for the rest of the game.

Speaking of which, my shooting for the rest of the game was likewise abysmal—but more on that later.

I didn’t charge any of his units in my assault phase.  That really turned out to be a mistake.  I should’ve had my flying tyrant charge into his HQ and thinned them out.  I had already reduced their WS to 1, and there really was no better thing I could’ve done with my HQ.  I was just concerned about his lone wolves, and I didn’t want to kill them an accidentally give up a KP.  Realistically though, I over-estimated the might of my Tyrant—there was just no way he could’ve waded through five termies (including a storm shield) and Logan, AND two lone wolves..

But I didn’t… so no marines died this turn.

KP: 1 to 0 (2)

Turn 2: Marines

His 2nd drop pod arrived, but when he attempted to land on the hill where my Tyrant was, he deviated 11” away into no-man’s land.  It didn’t matter though.  More fire opened up and decimated my gaunt squads, along with all but one of my flying Tyrant’s wounds.  Once charged, his last wound disappeared quickly, and he only did minimal damage in return.  Doh!

KP: 2 to 0 (2)

Turn 2: Tyranids

Of my reserves, my genestealers and Mawloc appeared.  I wanted the ‘stealers to come in on the right flank, to assist against the nastiness there, but no such luck.  Even with the re-roll given to me by the Swarmlord, they insisted on coming in on the left flank, so I hid them behind cover.

As for the Mawloc, I positioned him to come up under 5 terminators and his drop pod though, and rolled a hit.  So, then it came down to an interpretation of the rules.  The rule states that

“Any models that cannot be moved off the template are destroyed.  Vehicles (even if immobilized) retain orientation when moved.”

If an immobilized vehicle is hit, is it destroyed (as it states in the first sentence) or is it moved (as stated in the 2nd sentence)?  We took the 2nd sentence to mean that if a vehicle is immobilized as the result of the Mawloc’s unearthing, then it’s moved; otherwise it’s destroyed.

That said, 4/5 terminators and a drop pod died.  That’s almost two kill points achieved in my movement phase.  Not bad, eh?

The rest of my units fired into walls of terminators, but I was only able to kill one.  I resisted charging with my termagants, figuring that he’d charge them (easy kill) instead of charging my nearby warriors who had rending claws, and would strike first due to him assaulting through cover.  My termies had counter-charge due to the nearby Tervigon… a perfect plan, right?

KP: 2 to 1 (3)

Turn 3: Marines

Not if he doesn’t follow it.  Logan and company charged the warriors (who fail to roll a single rending hit, and subsequently killed zero terminators).  In retaliation, several warriors died (more should’ve died to instant death, but Kris opted to use a frost blade in lieu of his powerfist).

Likewise, his Long fangs shredded even more of my models, with help from his Librarian.  Their long range shooty was proving to be devastating to me (pun intended).

My rippers came down, but weren’t able to do much.  Perhaps I should’ve brought them down on the other side of the board, but I figured they’d be stranded and concede a kill point.  I also considered taking my Mawloc off the board to deep strike again at a later turn, but thought “better” of it—figuring I had to kill that lone nearby terminator (who died anyway in the shooting phase).

KP: 2 to 1 (3)

Turn 3: Tyranids

My shooting phase had been reduced to nothing.  Anything close enough was in combat (except the Drop pod, which proved to be invulnerable to a Zoanthrope), and the rest were obviously too far away.

Hand to hand wasn’t looking any better.  His HQ was systematically moving through my units, so I charged with the Swarm Lord.  Power weapon monsterous creature attacks that force my opponent to make leadership checks on 3d6? 

Oh damn!  Now that I think about it, I played the Swarmlord wrong.  Each wound, I was having him roll leadership checks, but according to the swarmlord rules, there’s no check involved—it’s just instant death (and re-rolling failed saves), I wasn’t taking my 4++ invulnerable save.  This battle really should’ve gone vastly differently… if only I understood my rules.

But that’s why we play… to learn.  And there’s obviously a lot of learning for me to do.

KP: 3 to 2 (4)

Turn 4: Marines

Things weren’t looking good by this point in the battle.  The Long Fangs split fire and took out both the nearby squad of gaunts and my last hive guard for two more kill points.  In hand to hand, the gaunt squad died to Logan due to my lack of understanding without doing much more damage.  Realistically, I should’ve been able to take out Logan this turn (if not a turn earlier) due to the instant death with re-rolling successful saves.  That would’ve changed the KP total somewhat and given me a chance to actually win this game (that’s foreshadowing, fyi).

KP: 6 to 2 (4)

Turn 4: Tyrands (and beyond)

The last turn was beyond disheartening for me.  After an entire game where I consistently failed virtually every save I was called to make, and failed to do damage to his units, I just couldn’t take anymore.  Though we half-heartedly played another turn-ish, I conceded the game at this point, as the KP difference was just too large to overcome (I had lost virtually all of my synapse and had only peons left on the board).

Final Score: 7-4.  Space Wolves win!

What I’ve Learned:

Wow, this is sure to be a doozy here.  Normally I have about 3-4 bullet points at this stage, but since I played a brand new army, against another that I’ve never played against, this stands to be a big pile of learning:

  1. Since the goal of Tyranids is to get into the thick of things in hand to hand (with relatively few guns available, it seems the only real option), perhaps I should take first turn with them.  That way I can charge forward and give him less turns of firing (eg. About 1) before he just has to deal with me being in his face.  Next game, I think I’ll try this tactic.
  2. I look at my loss as a culmination of multiple things: I had inferior tactics, I didn’t know my units, my army composition wasn’t stellar (though I didn’t expect it would be when I started), and I had horrendous rolling.  Against a good player, any one of those could do you in.  Kris really deserved the win.
  3. I’m going to take a moment to assess each of the units I used (briefly).  Hopefully this is in line with my recent reviews of the tyranid units:
    • Hive Tyrant – I think he was fine, but he really should’ve charged first turn.  He didn’t live past the 2nd turn, and so I never saw him in action.  It does show just how fragile this unit is though.  When I use a flyrant in the future, he’ll make use of cover and charge at the first available opportunity (to hide from heavy weapons).NOTE: The Tyrant link might not work, because this blog post doesn’t officially go up until tomorrow.  If you made it this far down the battle report, I think you deserve to look at it a day early though.  Hopefully it lets you click it.
    • Tervigon – Didn’t do much.  I only used one because I feared it would be cheesy to use more.  Despite not doing much, I think he’s a good choice (even if I did roll double 1’s on the first time he pooped out termies).  Some thoughts I didn’t know or didn’t use in this game:  He’s a synapse creature by himself, and he can make non-termagant units FNP.  I kept putting it on termies because I thought that’s what the rule was—but it didn’t much matter, because everything that hit them basically caused instant death.  On a toughness 6 critter though, this would be much more valuable… (duh)
    • Zoanthropes – 2 died the first turn because I was unable to roll saves.  I love these guys, but they didn’t get much of a chance in this game.  His heavy weapons roasted ‘em so quickly…  Maybe I should consider deployment changes—but I’m not sure what to go with.  3+ invulnerable should keep them alive for at least a turn, right?
    • Tyranid Warriors – They were fine.  A little lackluster in shooting, and didn’t roll a single rending hit in close combat.  I think luck just wasn’t’ on their side that day.
    • Hive Guard – Unimpressed—but again, they didn’t get much of a chance.  I wanted to put them behind a hill and batter his long fangs with them—but it just wasn’t in the cards.  Indirect fire is good, but ultimately I think their low BS and low str (yes, I said str8 is low), will be their downfall.  I’m the sort of guy that loves lascannons and hates missle launchers (Despite what the popular opinion is).  I suspect these guys won’t be getting a whole lot of love in my army lists.
    • Termagants – They did nothing, but they did a good job of it.  I’d certainly take them again.
    • Hormagaunts – Again, did nothing (largely because of the fact I didn’t deploy them).  I’m still leery of these, and seeing the potential of tervigons, I have a hard time picking these guys over termies.  They’ll see spots in my army lists in the future… because you can’t ostracize a unit for one game that they didn’t’ get a chance to play.
    • Ripper Swarms – Didn’t do much.  Lots of attacks, lots of shots.  Don’t hold board quarters.  I don’t care.  I like ‘em, and I’ll be using them a bunch.
    • Genestealers – Didn’t do anything.  I’m starting to see a recurring theme here.  I didn’t charge out of cover because the unit was too small.  On turn 4, I actually planned on pulling the Mawloc out of the game to DS again on turn 5—that way he could do a “combined assault” with the stealers to potentially mess up some termies, but Kris moved out of ‘stealer assault range…
    • Mawloc – On a hit, he can prove devastating, taking out several hundred points, his inability to charge is disconcerting, and the fact that he only really hits the target he’s aiming at 35% of the time is also troubling.  I think if I start using these guys, it will have to be in conjunction with lictors (and possibly numbers).  That can make for a nasty surprise.
  4. The mission didn’t work out well for me.  Kris’ army was essentially heavily armored units and vehicles, and ‘nids still seem to have a problem with both of these.  The only real counter is to get into h2h with monstrous creatures.  My list had 4, and 3 of them never saw combat.  Likewise, almost none of my crappers saw combat either.  There’s a serious flaw in my thought process…
  5. He also brought more long range fire power than I could—and that really dominated me.  The more I play this game, the more I feel long range heavy weapons are the key to winning this.  Screw mech, screw common convention, lascannons FTW.
  6. Kris is apparently my Kryptonite.  I’ve now played 13 games and only lost twice: both to Kris.  What is it about him that makes my forces crumble (ok, perhaps the fact that both games were me using an army I’ve never used before had something to do with it.).  Not to cheapen the win.  Kris played well, and I stunk.  Congratz to him.  He’s also an amazing sport, and I look forward to a rematch at the upcoming Apoc game!
  7. Though I did walk away with more thoughts and questions, I’m going to cut this off here.  If I say too much now, I won’t have anything to learn in later games!
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6 comments on “Battle Report: Tyranids vs. "Wolfwing" (2000pts)

  1. Well good to see you getting your test games in. Its an entirely different kind of beast, then theorycrafting. I had the chance last night to play my first match against the new nids, Managarm played nids and i took command of his Tau. I think he learned alot in his first games with the new nids.

    He played quite good but made the same mistake you did, he conceded my the first turn. With the new nids, especially in killpoint missions, you just want to go first. He did the best he could do and almost got me, when his two Trygons showed up, but one had a mishap and came a turn later. So i could take em apart piecemeal.

    I feel like Hormagaunts are really inferior to Termagaunts, terma´s buffed by Tervigons are just as good in melee, cheaper and can shoot.
    Try to add landing spores for the Zoantrophes, because its just 3 st8+ wounds and they die. The Spores really help me to get atleast my first shots off. I sacrifice, 3 Zoan´s and a spore for a Land Raider any day.

    Other then that, it doesnt seem like you could have done much.

    • Yeah, I played another game yesterday (batrep will likely not be posted for a week), and I faired much better. I completely dominated the game, but lacked much punch to get through Eldar vehicles. I knew tanks would be problematic before I started.

      These are the kind of things that help seeing in real games though. Even if they just go to prove the theorycrafting, it’s good to know they work in practice.

      I’ll certainly try the ‘thropes in a spore tactic. I just need to finish up my spore models (again, should be a post on that next week as well… *fingers crossed*

  2. Well good to see you getting your test games in. Its an entirely different kind of beast, then theorycrafting. I had the chance last night to play my first match against the new nids, Managarm played nids and i took command of his Tau. I think he learned alot in his first games with the new nids.

    He played quite good but made the same mistake you did, he conceded my the first turn. With the new nids, especially in killpoint missions, you just want to go first. He did the best he could do and almost got me, when his two Trygons showed up, but one had a mishap and came a turn later. So i could take em apart piecemeal.

    I feel like Hormagaunts are really inferior to Termagaunts, terma´s buffed by Tervigons are just as good in melee, cheaper and can shoot.
    Try to add landing spores for the Zoantrophes, because its just 3 st8+ wounds and they die. The Spores really help me to get atleast my first shots off. I sacrifice, 3 Zoan´s and a spore for a Land Raider any day.

    Other then that, it doesnt seem like you could have done much.

    • Yeah, I played another game yesterday (batrep will likely not be posted for a week), and I faired much better. I completely dominated the game, but lacked much punch to get through Eldar vehicles. I knew tanks would be problematic before I started.

      These are the kind of things that help seeing in real games though. Even if they just go to prove the theorycrafting, it’s good to know they work in practice.

      I’ll certainly try the ‘thropes in a spore tactic. I just need to finish up my spore models (again, should be a post on that next week as well… *fingers crossed*

  3. Even a bad game is still better than no game. And any one you walk away having learned is a good game. It looks like you got a lot of learning out of this one. I’m interested in seeing how a rematch goes.

    Also, for an extra bit of learning: Instant Death wouldn’t have done a huge amount on Logan as he’s an Eternal Warrior. Still, re-rolling his save might have as he’s 2+/4++.

  4. Even a bad game is still better than no game. And any one you walk away having learned is a good game. It looks like you got a lot of learning out of this one. I’m interested in seeing how a rematch goes.

    Also, for an extra bit of learning: Instant Death wouldn’t have done a huge amount on Logan as he’s an Eternal Warrior. Still, re-rolling his save might have as he’s 2+/4++.

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