It’s been too long since I’ve played a game of 40k (actually, it’s only been a month according to the blog, but it certainly seems like longer. Maybe that’s because I’ve only gotten 7 games in so far this year and it’s already the 9th month?). Whatever the case, I finally broke the dry spell and managed to throw down on a quick game with Brandon. I had the afternoon off due to a very generous employer, so we started game night early for a change…
- Librarian w/ Melta Bombs & Digital Weapons
- Ironclad w/ Heavy Flamer in Drop Pod
- 5x Terminators w/ 1x Chainfist & Heavy Flamer
- 7x Command Squad w/ Company Standard, Melta-bombs, Power fist, 2x Plasma-gun, & Apothecary in Drop Pod
- 10x Tactical Marines w/ Meltagun, Multi-melta, Melta-bombs, & Combi-flamer in Drop Pod
- 10x Tactical Marines w/ Grav-gun, Plasma Cannon, Combi-Grav, & Melta-bombs
- Fast Attack:
- Stormtalon Gunship
- Heavy Support:
- 1x Vindicator w/ Dozer Blade
Brandon’s list is a little unusual in that it has a few elite choices that I rarely play against. I also don’t seem to face against his vindicators that much anymore, so it was definitely a divergent list.
Hive Fleet Proteus:
- Flyrant w/ Twin-linked Devourer (Warp Blast, Paroxysm, & Dominion)
- 1x Malanthrope
- 1x Malanthrope
- 1x Hive Guard
- 12x Termagants inc. 2x Strangwebs
- 1x Mucolid Spore
- 1x Mucolid Spore
- 1x Mucolid Spore
- Heavy Support:
- Deathleaper’s Assassin Formation:
- 1x Lictor
- 1x Lictor
- 1x Lictor
- 1x Lictor
- 1x Lictor
My goal was to try to use Mawlocs effectively. I know they’ve done well in some tournaments, but I just don’t buy that they’re that good. Hitting something with a repeatable ST6 AP2 large blast is fantastic, I’ll give you that, but they only hit 1/3rd of the time, and the average scatter distance means that you generally won’t hit what you’re aiming at. Maybe by throwing in some lictors I could help keep them on target?
Otherwise, I added some of the usual suspects in the list, and called it a day.
That flyrant is just a crutch that I need to stop using… It’s just that no other characters seem remotely fieldable (aside from the Tervigon).
Mission & Deployment:
We rolled up the mission where we each get up to three tactical objectives per turn and deploy via corners. He won the roll and opted to defer to me–I deployed what few units I had (A total of 16 models: Flyrant, Termagants, Hive Guard, & Malanthropes) leaving the following units in reserve:
Granted, they’re all single model units, but that means I reserved more than twice as many units as I deployed). Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, he did the same. He deployed a vindicator, rhino & tactical squad, and two combat squads. Technically speaking since he used combat squads he deployed six units and reserved six:
Still, it seemed like a lot of models that weren’t on the table to start the game. Frankly, it’s been a while since I’ve played a game where both armies were heavily in reserve. Luckily for me, my warlord trait gave him -1 to reserve rolls (something that I don’t think ever had an effect on the game).
He wound up seizing the initiative and taking the first turn…
Turn 1: Salamanders
My fear was that the vindicator would get some unfettered shots at my Malanthropes, taking out my synapse (and cover saves) before I got a chance to do anything about it. Truth be told, I didn’t deploy in a fashion that was favorable to me should he have seized the initiative (doh!).
So that was his key strategy for the first turn. He didn’t have a lot on the board, but what he did had opened up on the Exocrine and the nearby Malanthrope. Luck was on my side though, because the Malanthrope made the one save that mattered (although he failed a couple against storm bolters), but he managed to survive the turn with just two wounds on him.
Side note: did you know that Malanthropes have regeneration? I sure didn’t. Well, at least not until we had to take a break in the middle of the game so Brandon could run a quick errand. At that point, I wound up planning out all of my moves and looking up some rules, and there it is: regeneration. They also have four wounds–when it seems like they should only have three. Those things are just too good.
Anywho, the only other real damage done was a wound to my Exocrine. He may have also killed some gaunts, but they were pretty insignificant: only serving to fill out my force org chart and screen my flyrant from the start of the game.
On the plus side for him, he managed to score four points: one for holding a random objective and one for holding three different ones.
Score: Salamanders: 4 – Tyranids: 0
Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus
As expected, my Flyrant took to the air, and while I really wanted to take out the vindicator, I felt that my Exocrine surely wouldn’t live through an assault with the ironclad, so I redirected her behind the ironclad, where she proceeded to strip all of it’s hull points off). Otherwise, I didn’t have all that much shooting to do.
The exocrine rolled horribly for moving through cover, so he opted to stand still and pour his firepower into the marines directly in front of him–killing the squad to a man.
The only other shot I had was my hive guard, who managed to take a hull point off a nearby rhino and removed it’s storm bolter, but wasn’t able to do anything more.
Based upon my pictures, I wasn’t able to score any points that round (can that be true?), so the score remained lopsided. At least I’d managed to get first blood…
Score: Salamanders: 4 – Tyranids: 0+1
Turn 2: Salamanders
With most of his reinforcements arriving, Brandon spent some time debating on how best to deploy them in order to both accomplish some immediate objectives (which included getting 3+ units into my deployment zone) as well as how to best use them long term throughout the game. He opted to deploy the terminators fairly aggressively, and use existing models to get into my deployment zone. Personally, I think I would’ve played a little more defensively, as he knew that I had a significant amount of points tied up in trying to take an objective at the back side of the board. That would effectively accomplish the same goal (preventing my points is as good as earning your own) and save him from putting his terminators into a really bad position.
But, his way wasn’t necessarily bad–just different. Otherwise, there wasn’t alot to movement. Besides sneaking up in order to score an objective, the only other real movement was to back up the vindicator so that I couldn’t just fly the Tyrant behind it and wreck it next turn (which I felt was a smart move). The only downside there was that it limited the targets it could shoot at (but frankly, there weren’t that many available).
We moved onward and he wound up focusing fire on the Exocrine and his Malanthrope. Sadly, he severely hurt each one, but didn’t do enough damage to kill either, so he passed the turn without killing a model for the second turn.
Score: Salamanders: 6 – Tyranids: 0+1
Turn 2: Hive Fleet Proteus
I wound up getting a significant number of my reserves in this turn: both mawlocs, two lictors and a few mucolids. This was also the point in the game where Brandon had to run off for an hour, so I had a glut of time to plan my moves for the turn. Some of the options were going to be obvious: I had to put a lictor on objective #5 because that not only gave me a victory point for holding it, but I also got another for “recon” (revealing every objective on the battlefield). Otherwise, it was a matter of trying to figure out where the best targets were.
My Mawlocs came on the table and both decided to hit their targets (one a direct hit on the command squad–killing all of them except for the librarian, who broke with leadership 4), and the other thumped a combat squad that had disembarked from a rhino. Neither managed to clear the blast area of all targets though, and both had tragic mishaps on the deep strike table: never to be seen again.
You might wonder how his librarian’s leadership got that low, but it’s because Deathleaper haunted him for -3, he was within synapse range so that was another -3, and he was within 12″ of a lictor from Deathleaper’s brood, so that was another -1. In total, that’s a negative seven modifier–so I guess his leadership was actually 3. Too bad that really doesn’t have an ill effect on space marines…
My Exocrine and gaunts were going to pour fire into the terminators (the exocrine liked the idea of charging initially, but rolled poorly for movement, so opted to stand still and gain BS4–the fact that he was standing on an objective that allowed him to re-roll 1’s didn’t hurt that decision either…). In total, he’d managed to kill three terminators in shooting (the gaunts had no effect).
The Hive guard would’ve liked to shoot the vindicator, but it just wasn’t going to be possible. Instead, he wound up taking a pot-shot at a rhino and taking off a hull point. The Flyrant had some options, but it wasn’t clear what I should do with her. To allow for this, I wound up placing her in such a way that I could get shots on most of the targets. Ultimately, she wound up having a weak shooting phase and killed off just a handful of tactical marines.
Anywho, he wound up breaking and running away a good distance, putting him out of the picture for a while. I forgot to mention that the Flyrant also managed to immobolize the vindicator that round due to warp blast.
Score: Salamanders: 6 – Tyranids: 2+1
Turn 3: Salamanders
He surged his rhino forward to use objective secured to steal an objective from beneath my Exocrine, and then dotted various units with fire around the table. Honestly, it didn’t seem like much was done this turn. The only real thing I can recall is that his terminators wound up shooting and assaulting the Exocrine–who managed to kill one of them on the charge in, and killed the other before the final terminator got to swing–which certainly wasn’t the effect he was going for.
He did earn two more victory points for holding an objective and killing a unit of mine during the shooting phase (he must’ve killed one of the stray lictors)–so it wasn’t a total loss.
Score: Salamanders: 8 – Tyranids: 2+1
Turn 3: Hive Fleet Proteus
Most of my remaining units came on the board at this point, so I started focusing the army into small groups. The Flyrant dispatched with the remaining tactical marines, and the malanthropes and exocrine started after the rhino and it’s contents. Elsewhere, I started deploying all of the remaining lictors around the librarian. Each turn, I’d drop a couple around him and fire their spines into him. After he’d save, I’d charge him with the lictor or two that had deployed the turn before. I was bound to roll a rend eventually, right?
I earned four victory points for scoring a couple of objectives and killing D3 units in the shooting phase, closing that wide gap that had seperated us…
Score: Salamanders: 8 – Tyranids: 6+1
Turn 4: Salamanders
Brandon really seemed demoralized at this point. He wound up getting his flyer in, but figured there was nothing it could do in order to stay alive (which was almost true, because my Flyrant would assuredly blow it out of the sky, should it come anywhere near her–considering she landed in the previous turn).
Still, he had to do something, so he came on with it in hover mode in order to take an objective and kill off one of my lictors. With his Vindy immobolized out of range of anything and his other two units locked in combat, the only other shooting he had was from his two drop pods, so the turn went pretty quick. The malanthrope wound up taking out tactical marines slowly but steadily, while the librarian was taking out a lictor or so each turn.
Brandon earned another two points for Recon and holding an objective with his storm talon, ensuring he kept his lead for another turn.
Score: Salamanders: 10 – Tyranids: 6+1
Turn 4: Hive Fleet Proteus
My turn went about as expected: My Flyrant flew over and shot the storm talon out of the sky, the Malanthrope (aided by the Exocrine) finished off the tactical marines, and the unending tide of lictors finally proved to be too much for the librarian. At that point, it left Brandon with just two drop pods and an immobolized vindy to use. He skipped his turn five and had me just try to see if I could table him, which I managed without much difficulty due to the vast number of rending attacks offered by four lictors (including Deathleaper). Over the two turns, I wound up scoring another six victory points plus secondary objectives for slaying the warlord and linebreaker.
Final Score: Salamanders: 10 – Tyranids 13+3
By the end of the game, it was pretty hopeless for him (which is to be expected if you’ve been tabled). We don’t keep track of the score as the game goes on though, so it’s interesting to know that he was in the lead for the vast majority of the game. In fact, it wasn’t until the fourth turn when I had decimated his army that I had tied things up (scoring two points and killing his warlord). Since you don’t count linebreaker until the end of the game, it really wasn’t until turn 5 that I took the lead. I guess there’s something to be said for playing the objectives…
What I Learned:
- Malanthropes are good. No, they’re better than you think. Each time I look them up, I find something new. Did you know that they have four wounds? And that they come with regeneration, base? Hell, I’d pay the 85 points just for a venomthrope with synapse; the rest is just gravy.
- I should measure more. In a game where you can measure everything, why don’t we measure more? Brandon could’ve positioned his ironclad upon deployment so that it was impossible to land behind him with the flyrant, rendering him immune to her wiley ways. I find myself ignoring what my opponent’s ranges/options are as well. Why?
- Mawlocs are inconclusive. They’re allegedly good (according to the internet) and I can’t argue that a two-shot S6 AP2 large blast is bad. It’s just that statistically they’ll only hit 1/3rd of the time, and when they scatter, the average distance is far enough that it will completely miss the intended target. I s’pose that’s what the lictors are for, though my Mawlocs both arrived too soon to make use of the lictor’s homing beacon abilities. They both managed to hit, but neither lasted long enough for a second go-around…
- Mawlocs need to avoid vehicles. Vehicles only have a minor chance to be glanced by such a blast, so I should really steer clear of them–as mishaping can prove disastrous.
- Playing the objectives is risky. When I play with Brandon, it seems that he often is trying to snag whatever objective he can, potentially at the risk of spoiling his long term plans. Unless you’re sacrficing a throw-away unit, I think ‘d rather focus on the objectives that don’t leave me too exposed.
- Flyrants are good. Heck, everyone knows that. I think they’re even better in smaller point games. Flying around and basically picking one unit per turn to die is really fantastic though. I really should stop using that crutch so much.