Well, Tony and I threw down for another game–this time it was tin-can on tin-can action. Tony originally wanted to muster 1850-2000 points (so he could play with two storm ravens), but as I’m still easing into things, we opted for a seemingly random 1439 points. Let it be known that I only had 1435 points, and he (by adding searchlights to his vehicles) was able to muster 1437. Obviously, if he wins this battle, it’s because he had more points than me, right?
- HQ: Lysander
- Elites: 5x Terminators w/ Thunderhammers & Stormshields
- Troops: 10x Tactical w/ Lascannon, Plasmagun, & Powerfist
- Troops: 10x Tactical w/ Missile Launcher, Flamer & Power Weapon
- Fast Attack: Attack Bike w/ Multi-Melta
- Fast Attack: Attack Bike w/ Multi-Melta
- Heavy: 10x Devastators w/ 2x Lascannon & 2x Plasma Cannon
- Heavy: 10x Devastators w/ 4x Missile Launcher
I think heavy weapons are demoralizing—especially when facing mech armies. If I play everything on foot, I get ablative wounds and lots of big guns to respond with. I must admit that I took this list based upon the fact that I was playing against Tony and he told me last game that Devastators are his bane.
Blood Angels Army:
- HQ: Chaplain
- Elites: Sanguinary Priest w/ Jump Pack & Power Weapon
- Troops: 5x Assault Marines w/ Powerfist
- Troops: 10x Assault Marines w/ 2x Melta & Powerfist
- Troops: 8x Death Company w/ assorted weapons
- Troops: Death Company Dreadnought
- Fast Attack: 5x Vanguard w/ assorted weapons
- Fast Attack: 2x Attack Bikes w/ Mult-melta & Heavy Bolter
- Fast Attack: Storm Raven
I think this is a pretty balanced force—but definitely an in-your-face kind of army. Tony’s of the opinion that the blood angels aren’t a solid list (unless you play them like you would a basic marine chapter—but he’s a sucker for the cool things, like that storm raven, and the dreadnought—which I’m fairly terrified of).
Ultramarines Turn 1:
Tony had chosen to deploy his Storm Raven (complete with Death Company & Dreadnaught) on my right flank, and his attack bikes and assault squads in a “Blood Rodeo” (apparently, that’s a thing you should know—though if you don’t, don’t feel bad. It’s just a cute way to say that the deployed his attack bikes up front, and the assault squads behind them—in order to benefit from a cover save. The theory is that the attack bikes get to turbo-boost forward and get their own cover save). He opted to leave the rest in reserve.
In response, I deployed everything. My theory was to keep my lines of fire as clear as possible, as he was surely going to come around the hill in the center. The strength of my list was certainly in the mass amounts of heavy weapons fire, each of which had a few ablative wounds. Since it wasn’t a KP mission, everything split into attack squads—so I could maximize my carnage across his entire force.
The first roll of the game went perfectly: I went to seize initiative, and rolled a six. Tony immediately questioned whether he was better off holding the raven in reserve (ultimately he decided it was, but I disagreed). I opened my first volley against the few units I could really see: the Raven & the Attack Bikes (technically I could see some assault marines, but they’d get a cover save, and I had so many weapons that just instant-fragged the bikes, it was best to kill them now.
After firing all of my heavy weapons, I’d managed to rip the twin-linked lascannon off the raven, and wound (not kill) exactly one attack bike. The only kill I even mustered was a stray plasma cannon shot that scattered off onto a nearby assault squad.
To say Tony’s dice were horrendous was an understatement. The amount of 1’s and 2’s I was rolling was completely insane. Yes, I did say “Tony’s dice were horrendous.” The thing is, I’d forgotten my dice at home, so I was sharing with him. He took out his normal bag and used them, and gave me a bag of what he called “his fantasy dice.” From this, I can only assume that Tony has never won a game of fantasy in his life…
Blood Angels Turn 1:
Anyway, his response to my massive whiff-fest was to have everything scream forward about as quickly as possible (though his attack bikes held off on their throttles to stay with the assault squads). He had no real shooting too speak of (I think he managed to kill a single attack bike), so we left turn 1 with virtually no causalities on either side. The down side was that I was predominately shooty army with a ton of assault troops in my face…
Ultramarines Turn 2:
No problem, right? After all, I had so many heavy weapons and bolters at close range—I just needed to thin them out before they got to me, right?
Well, my “brilliant” plan at this stage was to leverage the ‘emergency disembarkation’ rules to kill his storm raven and many of the troops inside. The idea was to surround it with nearby units and then blow it up, forcing Tony to deploy his models in too small a footprint, thereby killing any he couldn’t place outright. Tony agreed that it sounded like a great tactical move, so I set about doing just that.
The problem here was that I had to rely on some run rolls to get into place. No worries, I’d compensated for that by dedicating an extra squad to this purpose—just in case. When it came down to their run rolls though, I managed a 1, 1, & a 3. L
I’m pretty sure by this point, the dice were rolling 1’s about 50% of the time. Tony should either rename them to be his “leadership dice,” or destroy them outright…
My luck did start to change after that—as my first shot of the turn (a multi-melta attack bike) dispatched with the storm raven. Unfortunately, since I wasn’t able to completely surround it, he lost no troops to the crash. The next good news was he had bunched up nicely immediately in front of two plasma cannons. And when I went to fire at him, I rolled double-one’s for scatter. Maybe this won’t be so bad at all, right?
Until Tony asked if I’d rolled for overheating…. Naturally, it was a 1.
The other plasma cannon missed entirely. In fact, every other weapon I had either missed entirely, failed to wound, or he passed his cover/armor save. The total damage of my entire force firing into him at point blank range?
One dead storm raven.
Blood Angels Turn 2:
His 10 man assault squad w/ priest took out 2x 5 man squads on my left flank, while the Death Company and Dreadnought slaughtered the three squads that had tried encircling the storm raven. Total model kills now stood at 2:25, but at least I’d managed to kill a vehicle, right? I was confident that he wouldn’t be able to do that much to me (mostly because I had no vehicles, but still—it’s something I can be proud of!).
The only saving grace of that assault was he also threw a five man assault squad at my plasma devs. Miraculously, I’d managed to kill two of his models to only one of mine (despite my having only five normal attacks, and him having a power fist). He managed to break off (which was really the best thing for me), and I was back to shooting.
Ultramarines Turn 3:
By the end of the previous turn, I’d already let Tony know that I wasn’t sure how much of this atrocity I could take. I wasn’t going to just cry and leave, but I was feeling quite hot. That’s not to say I was angry, but I actually felt my body temperature rise, and I had to get up and walk around the room. I couldn’t believe how badly the dice were behaving. Tony agreed to trade me some of my dice, and turn 3 ensued.
My melta-bike immobilized his dreadnought (despite me lining up my terminators to charge it), and the rest of my heavy weapons started neutering his army. Both plasma cannons fired at his “broken” 3 man assault squad, and both deviated into his larger squad. I peppered the rest of the weapons into this squad and his death company (since Tony insisted they were his best unit)—in hind sight though, I’d have probably been better off taking out his scoring units first…
The assault went largely as planned. I avoided his Dreadnought, and redirected my charge to the Death Company. About half of them died, and though they returned many wounds, the storm shields held fast, keeping the squad largely intact.
Blood Angels Turn 3:
Since the broken assault squad was within 6” of my terminators still, they kept falling back. On the back end of the board, his attack bikes were squirting around, trying to get a good shot at something, while keeping a cover save from all of my heavy weapons.
To help him out, his Vanguard showed up to the battle, and immediately charged into my lascannon devs (hindsight, this was a mistake, as he also would’ve been better off killing my only remaining scoring unit—a nearby 5 man tactical squad w/ lascannon).
His Dreadnought missed with his multi-melta on my attack bike, and fired what would be his last shot (not that he would die, but an immobilized dread with his back to the battle is ineffective enough for me).
The Death Company and terminators played around a bit, but it wasn’t a terribly eventful combat. Likewise, the vanguard proved ineffective against the might of devastators in h2h… Truly, giving Tony half of my bad dice had started paying off.
Ultramarines Turn 4:
My attack bike skirted around the dread, and took a pot shot at the priest’s squad, while ensuring he was within 6” of the fleeing assault marines. Every marine with a gun fired into the squad and killed off two of three (including the priest). This brought up an interesting rule question. Tony was rolling his saves, and chose to do his priest first. When he failed his armor save and his FNP save, the question was if either of the other two marines would still get the FNP—since the priest was initially alive?
Honestly I didn’t know the answer to this, but figured he could’ve just as easily waited to save the priest’s wound rolls until the end, so I let him use the FNP save for that volley. I don’t know what the actual answer is, but this really seems like the right thing to do. Otherwise, you have to be careful to roll such saves at the very end of each volley.
Anywho, my terminators decimated his vanguard in combat, leaving me with little to do but to try to grab objectives in later turns.
Blood Angels Turn 4:
His attack bikes blasted my lone attack bike off—but not before his assault squad ran to the very edge of the board. Sadly, I wasn’t able to keep him completely out of the game (though I was close—the multi-melta hit and failed to wound, but the two sets of bolters was what killed my precious escort).
The Death Company fell (as they so desired to do) against my thunderhammers, who consolidated towards his vanguard (in order to protect my single living scoring unit). His priest-led squad multi-assaulted two dev squads, killing both completely, but not without being reduced to just three models themselves, and consolidated (smartly) away from my terminators.
The Vanguard killed off their prey, but couldn’t roll high enough to escape the terminators, so they pressed the attack…
Meanwhile, his lone assault marine (w/ powerfist) was debating on how to best hide in cover. Tony buckled to Murphy’s law, and decided that jumping into the forest would assuredly wind up in him failing a dangerous terrain test—so he opted to walk cautiously into the woods. Though he made it, he didn’t make it out of LoS, and wouldn’t last another turn either…
Ultramarines Turn 5:
This is getting a little hazy to me about turn order. What I know is that my terminators slaughted the death company, and then pressed into the Vanguard (who eradicated their devastator squad). These two then met in battle, and—well, let’s just say it wasn’t a good day to be a Vanguard…
I’m just not 100% sure about which turn this all happened in. I believe it was during the 5th, but it also might’ve been one turn earlier…. Well, you get the gidst…
Blood Angels Turn 5:
With nobody around, the broken assault marines finally rallied, and flew up to claim a nearby objective (barely making it). This is probably the turn that his bikes moved over to contest the other objective (as described earlier)… Wow, I need to do these write-ups faster after completing my games!
We rolled to end the game on a six (at this point, Tony was holding one objective, and I had 0), and continued on.
Turn 6-7 & Final Thoughts:
Instead of switching back and forth, I’ll just summarize here. I moved to hold my objective, but couldn’t scatter around it enough to keep Tony from swooping in with his bikes to contest it—nor did I muster enough fire power to kill off the remaining assault marines (who went to ground on their own objective). Turn 6 still left Tony with 1 objective and me with 0.
We rolled to end the game without looking up the rule. I said “End it on a 4+” and Tony rolled a 3. At that point, he said that he thought the rule actually stated the game kept going on a 4+ and we looked it up (he was right). But that brought up a discussion about what was really the right answer.
Honestly, it felt bitter to me to lose the game on a technicality. We agreed that a 4+ would end the game, and then I find out that it really ended on anything but that. Effectively, it felt as if that roll was inconsequential: it wouldn’t have mattered what I rolled, because it could’ve been argued either way (though the inverse is also true). Luckily Tony is a good guy, and he opted to let the game keep going.
Really though, I didn’t need the game to keep going. I was happy calling it a draw there, and to spend the rest of the time discussing the morality of the rule. Of course, I’m not questioning his values—he’s an upstanding guy, and I believe he hasn’t been to a tourney where he didn’t win Best Sportsman—I just like to talk.
Tony goaded me into continuing though, and it was pretty hopeless from there on out. Two attack bikes couldn’t withstand four thunderhammers for a turn, and his assault marines weren’t able to hold out against ten marines (two of which had missile launchers and another with a lascannon). The end of turn 7 had him effectively tabled (excepting an immobilized dreadnought), and me holding an objective.
So, depending upon how you look at it, this game was a loss, a tie, or a win….
What I Learned:
- In KP games, focus on scoring units. Seems like a basic principle, but Tony and I were too distracted at times by things that were fairly unimportant. I’m not sure we made the wrong decisions in each instance, but I know that I didn’t give enough consideration into just killing off the units that could’ve won him the game. Had I fired into that assault squad on turn 3, rather than peppering the Death Company—there likely wouldn’t have been cause for discussion about how the game ends.
- When rolling for wounds – order is important. Or is it? I’m not sure here, but when you’re rolling for wound allocation/saves, I’d advise that you do so in order—just to be safe. That way you don’t have to get into an argument with someone over whether your dead priest still conveys FNP to the rest of the squad….
- Either look it up or make a decision. Don’t agree to play by a rule one way, and then look it up and change the entire thing later. Perhaps this lesson should simply say “look it up.” I haven’t played much recently, so I’m obviously rusty. To prevent problems, it’s best to look up everything. Of course, I didn’t think it mattered because in this instance, the game was going to end half of the time, so any suitably random way to determine that seemed sufficient to me.
- Play with good people. Life’s too short to play with people that you’re going to argue with. If you’re not having fun, you need to either find new people to play with, or find out how to change your attitude yourself. For the record, Tony is good people.