I had been discussing the possibility of playing 40k again, and this past weekend I managed to get not one, but TWO games in. That really has to be some sort of record, right?
Well, it might not seem like a lot of 40k to you, but considering I’ve only played about that many games since my kiddo was born (and he just celebrated his first birthday), it was a whole lot of gaming to me!
My first game was with resident saint, Kurt (who skipped town on me for the 2nd game in order to dance with girls). I also got a spot of help from Danny with army construction—though I’m sure he’d vehemently deny it if asked. Kurt suggested we play ahead of time, and I had to meet him anyway, so I figured I might as well bring models. That way, if he couldn’t scrounge up a game, I could throw down with him. When nobody else showed, I got to play the victim.
Army construction comprised mostly of me opening the book and asking Danny what I should include in my list. Whatever he’d suggest, I’d whine incessantly about how inefficient a choice it was, and then add it to my list. I rather enjoyed the whole experience, but it was light-hearted to me. I’m not sure that he took as much pleasure as I did though. I got to build a non-traditional list for myself, and got some insight into how Danny views the marine codex (if only a little).
Granted, most of my army lists look a lot like this—haphazard mix of units that rarely includes duplicates. Though I do have units that I prefer over others (and are thereby more-often represented in my lists), they’re all pretty different. The only thing I think that’s truly unique for me in this particular list was the usage of two chaplains as my HQ’s. I also don’t recall ever using my terminator chaplain either (mostly because chaplains became underwhelming in 5th edition, and I tend to loathe terminator armor). But, it came up to be a fairly well-rounded list consisting of:
- HQ: Chaplain in Terminator Armor
- HQ: Chaplain w/ Jump pack, Plasma Pistol, & Melta Bombs
- Elites: Ironclad w/ Melta/flamer & Drop pod w/ Deathwind
- Elites: 5x Terminators w/ Thunderhammer & Stormshield
- Troops: 10x Tactical w/ Lascannon, Plasma, & Powerfist
- Troops: 10x Scouts w/ sniper rifles, missile, & cloaks
- Fast Attack: 10x Assault Marines w/ Power Weapon, 2x Plasma Pistols
- Fast Attack: Landspeeder w/ Multi-melta
- Fast Attack: Landspeeder w/ Multi-melta
- Heavy: Vindicator
His list (from memory) looked something like this:
- HQ: Runepriest in Terminator Armor
- Elites: 5x Wolfguard Terminators in a pod (with runepriest)
- Elites: 5x Wolf Scouts
- Troops: Grey Hunters x10(ish) w/ Meltaguns, banner, wulfen & powerfist
- Troops: Grey Hunters x10(ish) w/ Plasma, banner, wulfen & powerfist
- Fast Attack: 3x Thunderwolves w/ various weapons
- Fast Attack: Landspeeder w/ H.Flamer & Multi-melta
- Heavy: Vindicator
- Heavy: Whirlwind
Kurt’s army was pretty atypical (At least from a power-gaming perspective). I don’t want to dissect it too much, but the things I liked particular were the Vindicator and the Whirlwind (and those crazy banners on the Grey Hunters). The Vindy is a solid choice for threat—if not for damage, but it does force the opponent to deal with it in some way. I just don’t hear about wolf players using them very often. The whirlwind, on the other hand, is something that no players use. Kurt and I are in agreement that they’re always a fantastic purchase. They will undoubtedly get their points back each time, and have options to ignore cover. Top that off with the fact that big blasts templates are always good to have, and you can typically fire at things that can’t even see you (And therefore, can’t fire back), and you have a solid pick.
The only flaws I really saw in his list were with his HQ/wolfguard squad. He didn’t min-max them, so what you wind up with then is 5 guys that are pretty plush for AP2 weaponry, coming down in a pod far away from the rest of your army. The single pod strategy only works when you have a throw-away unit, or a unit that doesn’t need support (ie, can withstand some punishment). This is probably why my ironclad always fails me, but what can I say—I’m a slow learner.
I opted not to split either of my troops into combat squads (doing so would give him more kill points to go after), and he either didn’t have the option, or didn’t care to exercise that either. My deployment was to the left half of my board, hanging around cover where it was available. I put the terminators out in front (something that seems wholly unnatural, as they typically die so fast, but I had faith in the storm shields—and the fact that they were never shot at for almost the entire game). I really didn’t have a huge strategy, other than the fact that I wanted to put my guys together so they could support each other. I figured that I had more long range shooting than he did, so he would have to come to me (he was also much more maneuverable, so if it came down to me chasing him around, it wasn’t going to be pretty).
Perhaps that’s enough strategy to have at the start of the game—though I think people generally plan more ahead: “Ok, this squad will need to move over and protect my flank… etc.” I don’t normally plan that far ahead, because everything falls apart when it comes to the battle.
My first turn was pretty uneventful. I had proven that my setup left something to be desired (or at least that Vindicators are really effective at making you do a double-take). I moved my Vindy behind cover for fear that he’d nuke it with his, and relied on my Lascannon and my Ironclad to take out his boom-tank (both of which rolled 1’s). My scout’s missile launcher also missed, making for a fairly uneventful first turn. In fact, the only damage I did was because Kurt informed me that my sniper rifles could actually wound a rhino (can they really??). Well, we played that they could, and I managed to explode his melta-gun transport on the first turn.
In retaliation, he showed me how you’re supposed to kill a vindicator: 1 drop pod + four combi-meltas. That really did the trick. He also managed to immobilize my ironclad (which seems to happen about every game). Otherwise, he shuffled guys around a bit.
I do believe this turn he also pinned my scouts with a whirlwind (see, I told you that tanks is good!). That would allow his land speeder to survive against them and flame them later…
VP Total: Ultramarines – 1 : Space Wolves – 1
Bear with me here, as this is all from memory, and at the time I’m writing this, I don’t even have pictures available to refresh my memory. My force was expanding towards him on the first turn, and on turn two, I immediately rescinded that, and contracted towards his Teminators. My terminators were in charge range (though with the congo line they were in, not many got to actually swing in combat). At first, I had a fairly miserable combat, but then rememebered that the Chaplain allowed me to re-roll misses, and things picked up a bit. I didn’t wipe him out, but I handily won the fight, and set myself for what would be an eventual victory. This is really because his runepriest wasn’t geared for combat, and his squad had no storm shields and no wound allocation shenanigans. Realistically, his models were a perfect example of why I don’t like using terminators. Often they’ll get into combat with something that has a power weapon (or otherwise ignores armor saves) and then they’re just glorified orks, with a 5+ save.
Oh, I also destroyed his other rhino (despite him popping smoke), leaving the grey hunters to trudge across the board on foot. Anything else I’d fired that turn was ineffective, so I was relegated to just shuffling my models around.
In contrast, Kurt backed away from the immobilized Ironclad and took some pot shots at it (for the record, it lived through the battle). He ignored the “drop pod” (since I’d forgotten mine at home and really wanted to use one, he suggested I proxy it with—get this—a tree. Sure, it looked different enough from the rest of the trees in the game, but that faithful tree was too easy to overlook. In hindsight, that was a bad idea, because it gave the unit unfair stealth. I don’t think it ultimately made much difference. In a later turn he did stray too close to it, and I got to deathwind him once, but he didn’t take more than a single casualty from it.
His scouts came on and peppered my scouts with fire, then charged in. I was surprised that he wasn’t able to do more damage with them. He explained that they’re really much better against armor, and they were pretty much wasted against the scouts, but that was about the only unit I had that they could both take out—and stay away from my other units. Of course, once my Terminators got tired of playing with his runepriest, this is exactly where they headed.
VP Total: Ultramarines – 4 : Space Wolves – 1
I’d charged his scouts—which couldn’t stand up to thunderhammer terminators (with a chaplain, no less). I’d also used my speeders to pot-shot his speeder with multi-meltas (another foregone conclusion). I also pushed my assault marines up with my jump chaplain to assault his plasma-armed grey hunters. In response, he popped some crazy banner that allowed him to re-roll any 1’s he had that game turn. That’s a pretty nutty ability, because it helps you hit more, and turns their armor into terminator armor for all intents and purposes. Power weapons will still negate the armor, but against normal attacks, they save on 3+ and re-roll the 1. Effectively, that only gives them a 1/6 chance of failing (plus the reroll, mind you, but that’s only another 5% or so chance. That’s a pretty powerful banner.
My combat seemed to go fairly well, killing about 5 of his guys, but between his powerfist and wulfen, he returned more damage than I expected. On his turn, he pulled a crazy multi-assault with his thunderwolves getting each wolf into combat with a separate unit (two speeders and the assault squad), but when it came down to it, none of them were very effective. One missed the speeder altogether, one managed to shake another, and the last one did a couple of wounds to the assault squad. In contrast, I killed all but two of his grey-hunters (Which broke), and did three wounds to his wolves—each of which failed his armor save…. DOH! They also turn and broke.
His vindicator took a pot shot at my terminators, who had bunched up nicely for him, but missed… and his other grey hunters collapsed upon my drop pod, but didn’t manage to kill it.
VP Total: Ultramarines – 6 : Space Wolves – 1
By this time, our game had gone on fairly long (mostly caused by my inability to remember the rules—sorry Kurt), and we declared this was the last turn. It’s possible that we actually went five turns, and I’m compressing the game more than it was, but the outcome is the same. With it being the last turn, my terminators assaulted his pod and popped it, and likewise, his grey hunters did the same to mine. My lascannon reached across the board (finally) and killed his vindicator, and my assault squad multi-assaulted his wounded grey hunters and wolves (killing both)—though in his turn, he piled on me with the other squad and killed both my chaplain and the last of my assault squad.
For his last act of defiance, he managed to kill off my scout squad entirely—with a single whirlwind shot (ignoring cover, and me rolling poorly), to give him another VP.
VP Total: Ultramarines – 9: Space Wolves – 5
While this is certainly not 100% accurate, it’s an approximation of what happened. I seem to recall that I’d gotten 10 VP’s instead of 9 (Vindicator, Rhino, Rhino, Grey Hunters, Drop Pod, Speeder, Thunderwolves, Wolfguard, Runepriest—nope, that’s 9. He still had a grey hunter squad and a whirlwind left at the end). We sized up the battlefield, and determined, had we gone on to the “last man standing” mode, I still probably would’ve won—but only because I still had both speeders up, who could kill the whirlwind, and then dodge his models on foot the entire game.
More importantly than who won, was that we both had fun. I thank Kurt for his tremendous amount of patience during the whole thing—he was quite helpful in getting me back up on the horse. And that leaves us with:
What I’ve Learned:
- Use it or lose it. This is true of most everything in life, so why wouldn’t it be true here? It’s been too long since I’ve played, and though I remembered many basic rules, some things I plumb forgot. I didn’t remember to run my units, or other simple things.
- Look up your rules! If you don’t know something—look it up. This is especially true considering #1 above. Chaplains are cute, but they don’t have WS5. I screwed Kurt over this entire game on that one (Though I have no idea why a space marine commander only has WS4…)
- Snipers rifles aren’t worthless. Well, who’d have thunk? I know I read this at one time, but I guess I didn’t put 2 + 2 together… Sniper rifles are str3 vs vehicles, plus a d6, plus possible rending (for another d3), which means they can muster enough strength to glance an av12 vehicle. Since marine tanks are just vastly inferior to those of the IG for some reason, they can actually penetrate. Granted, I still use sniper rifles, even though they’re not super effective, and this one rule doesn’t bump their effectiveness up a ton, but it is handy to know. Mostly I pick up sniper scouts so they can have cloaks and hold objectives.
Well, that’s it for this batrep. I’ll try to get the next one wrapped up soon…