We had a guest appearance by Sam this week at game night, who is on Summer break from school, so we’re hoping to see him a little more. He confessed that he was falling out of love with 40k a bit, so I was hopeful that we could get him a win (or at least a competitive game) to remind him that it can be quite fun…
Sam’s Imperial Fists:
- Chaplain w/ Jump Pack, Plasma Pistol, Digital Lasers
- Ironclad w/ Heavy Flamer, Assault Launchers, 2x Hunter Killers in Drop Pod
- Dread w/ Twin-linked Lascannon, Missile Launcher, Extra Armor in Drop Pod
- 10x Tactical Marines w/ Flamer, Heavy Bolter, Power Fist, & Combi Flamer in Drop Pod
- 10x Tactical Marines w/ Melta, Multi-melta, Power Fist, & Combi-melta in Drop Pod
- Fast Attack:
- 10x Assault Marines w/ 2x Plasma Pistols, Powerfist, & Plasma Pistol
- Heavy Support:
- 10x Devastators w/ 4x Flakk Missiles in Drop Pod
This is a protypical list from Sam: Lots of dudes in drop pods using a standard force organization chart. I do suspect that he’ll branch out in the near future and try the Skyhammer force–which is bound to be rough on his opponent… One thing he said during the game was “I really need to stop deep striking dev squads cause it’s not good without using that formation.”
Frankly, I think Devs are fine in the list, but he’s so gung-ho about drop pods. I suspect he’d be better off if he was more liberal about using combat squads or actually deploying some of his models on the table. Deep-striking Devs is far from ideal…
Hive Fleet Proteus:
- Hive Tyrant (walking) w/ 2x Venom Cannons (Dominion, Catalyst, Paroxsym)
- 2x Tyrant Guard
- Tervigon w/ Crushing Claws & Cluster Spines (Dominion, Paroxysm)
- 1x Zoanthrope (Dominion, Warp Blast, Catalyst)
- 1x Zoanthrope (Dominion, Warp Blast, Psychic Scream)
- 1x Venomthrope
- 1x Pyrovore
- 13x Hormagaunts
- 13x Hormagaunts
- 1x Mucolid Spore
- 1x Mucolid Spore
- 1x Mucolid Spore
- Fast Attack:
- 4x Raveners w/ Rending Claws
- Heavy Support:
- 1x Biovore
- 1x Carnifex w/ Twin-linked Devourers
- 1x Carnifex w/ Twin-linked Devourers
I wanted to go a little different than normal, but it seems that I did kind of fall back to a lot of my usual suspects. I tried out a walking Tyrant with guns (that weren’t devourers) to see how she’d do with some long range punch. I also threw in the punchline that is a pyrovore–which forced me to pick up a second Org chart so I could stay “objective secured” (something that I don’t believe ever came into consideration–especially because he was also OBSEC as well).
Otherwise, I don’t think I use Biovores all that much (and it shows because I forgot that they no longer cause pinning checks). But the rest of the stuff is all pretty common in my lists anymore…
Mission & Deployment:
For mission we played “Spoils of War,” which is the one where you draw three objectives per turn, and your opponent can claim your “hold objective X” objectives from your hand. I can’t remember playing this mission–or at least playing it correctly (spoiler alert: we didn’t play it correctly this time either).
Sam won the roll for side choice and he opted to take the one with two objectives in his deployment. I like playing with Sam because he doesn’t mind talking strategy out loud. Both of us agreed which side was better for him to choose, but we had differing opinions as to why. My thought was that it had two objectives in it’s deployment zone so, if you were to get the objective that says “control twice as many as your opponent” in your opening hand–like we did last game, you’d score it automatically. His thoughts were based upon the objectives as well, but his rationale was based upon something solely drop pod focused (which may have been just as valid, or even more so… he plays pods all of the time, so naturally he knows better than I on that).
I won the die roll for deployment and chose to setup first (since Sam was likely to deep strike everything in his force), but that lead to a big debate about whether it was better for me to go first or second. It was really an internal debate that I externalized and brought Sam into. It went a little something like this:
- Pros for going first:
- If I go first, I get to move forward and grab objectives–which could potentially stop him from dropping “objective secured” pods directly onto the objectives.
- I get to spread out to avoid blasts/templates.
- Cons for going first:
- I effectively have no targets to shoot at for the first turn.
- I don’t have to weather a turn of fire from him without a chance to redeploy into cover and put up psychic defenses.
- He can’t seize the initiative.
- Since you draw your objectives at the beginning of your turn, he would be able to score my objectives on his first turn, but I would not be able to score his.
Typically when I play against drop pods, I want them to go first; otherwise, I effectively lose a round of shooting. Because of the mission though, I heavily debated about which way to go. I wound up deciding to make him go first, but I’m still not sure it was the right answer. I think I’m siding with Sam’s thought in that “it really could go either way.”
Turn 1: Imperial Fists
Sam had opted to deploy his assault squad, but everything else stayed in pods and stayed in full 10 man squads. He dropped his Ironclad, Flamer tacticals and devastators (which was fairly predictable given his army list). The devs dropped in back to hold an objective, give them line of sight, and keep them at arm’s length away from me. Personally, I think he’d have been much better off splitting them into combat squads and deploying the missile launchers on top of a building so they got better LOS, and could fire at full BS on the first turn. Anywho, they wound up deviating off their mark and not holding the objective.
His Ironclad found himself in a similar predicament, deviating in such a way that the pod blocked his way between a ruin. He shimmied towards the edge of the board hoping to kill off my pyrovore and score both first blood and another point for one of his objectives, but the cover save thwarted him.
Lastly, his flame-based tactical squad dropped right into my face to claim objective #2 (if he didn’t grab it, he knew I would for sure on the next turn) and killed a mess of my hormagaunts, claiming his first objective.
Score – Space Marines: 1 vs. Tyranids 0
Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus
I started off my turn by cheating.
Ok, well, I moved my units forward first, in such a way that I could hopefully hold objective #4 (I had the card–but failed to run far enough because he had flamed out my ‘gaunt squad first, so they couldn’t just move forward and instead had to regroup first), and then, after shambling my units forward, I cheated.
It wasn’t intentional, but I wound up pinning his devastators by dropping a spore mine on them, killing one and watching him fail a pinning test. The thing is, that barrage weapons don’t automatically have pinning anymore, so he never should’ve had to take the test. Doh! Sorry, Sam…
Otherwise, I basically ran away from the Ironclad and moved my army forward on the right flank. In shooting, one dakkafex managed to strip off a single hull point to the pod on objective #2, so I fired my Tyrant into it, but she accidentally killed the pod (and a stray marine) stopping her from charging the pod during the assault phase (which would’ve gotten her onto the objective #2 to potentially score another point, and also would’ve given her a chance to score my last point for killing a unit in assault).
No bother, because my raveners and carnifex managed to wade into the tactical squad to wipe them out.
Only, they didn’t.
The carnifex killed a couple of marines with his hammer of wrath, which were diverted via “Look Out, Sir!” to nearby victims. He even got one kill with his attacks, which was also shaken off to a hapless squad member, that resulted in a power fist wound to the face. The raveners also couldn’t managed to mop up, and left themselves tied up with three total tactical members until next turn.
I did earn a point for holding objective marker #1 (I had started on it–and he had drawn the card) and another point for first blood. I’m going to track how many objectives we earned from each other during this batrep–indicated by a parenthetical number at the end of each score–so we can see how much of an impact it had at the end.
Score – Space Marines: 1 (0) vs. Tyranids 1+1 (1)
Turn 2: Imperial Fists
So, at some point I should mention how it is that we played the mission wrong. Where we failed is at the end of his first turn, he drew objectives up to his max. What that wound up doing is give me the option to potentially score his objectives before he got them. We didn’t realize that we were doing it wrong until about turn three, but we had been playing it wrong all game, so we opted to just finish it out the same way for consistency’s sake.
One more of Sam’s pods came in, and dropped onto objective 4 to steal my own card from me. The pod did deviate again though, so he had to waddle his dreadnought back over to claim the objective and put himself in harm’s way.
His Ironclad chased my pyrovore around the ruins and managed to hit with his melta again, but painfully failed to wound. His assault squad moved up to threaten a charge on the following turn but remained safe from any threat of mine behind a building.
Score – Space Marines: 2 (1) vs. Tyranids 1+1 (1)
Turn 2: Hive Fleet Proteus
My goal for the turn was to hold objectives #2 and #4 and kill something in assault). #2 was already cleared during Sam’s turn when I killed off the remnants of his tactical squad (though I didn’t get to score my victory point because it had to be during my own turn), so I simply moved my Tyrant up to that point in order to hold the objective while firing at the devastators’ pod. Despite her only having two shots and it having three hull points, she managed to destroy it outright by immobilizing it along with taking out another hull point, leaving it as a wreck on the board.
My Zoanthrope powered up to nuke the Dreadnought, but didn’t manage to hit (partially caused by the fact that she had perilsed and the headache affected her aim, I’m sure), but the Dakkafex fire true and stripped off all three hull points from the dread. That allowed my Zoanthrope to run forward to hold objective 4, while the gaunts sucked up the Devastators’ overwatch for the Raveners (which was a good thing, considering all three missile launchers somehow hit).
I locked another two units into a combat that looked like an inevitable win, but couldn’t manage to actually kill something in my own assault phase. Still, it gave me two victory points for the turn, so I was happy.
Score – Space Marines: 2 (1) vs. Tyranids 3+1 (1)
Turn 3: Imperial Fists
The last of the imperial reserves came in severing my poor pyrovore from the rest of my army, and focus firing it down with bolter shots. That earned Sam some distasteful comments from observers who wanted a chance to see it blow up from the three melta shots in the squad. No such luck though–Sam instead chose to play it smart. He also took out one of my Zoanthropes with incidental small arms fire, leaving himself with only one more unit to kill in order to bump up his score from 2 points for the turn to 2d3 points. Alas, he couldn’t muster the firepower.
He did manage to use his assault squad to steal objective #6 from me though. Drat!
Score – Space Marines: 5 (2) vs. Tyranids 3+1 (1)
Turn 3: Hive Fleet Proteus
This is the turn where both of my mucolids wound up coming in. Technically I rolled one in on the previous turn, but he wound up mishapping and getting delayed. Both dropped down to threaten the assault squad, but one wound up deviating into a nearby ruin where he didn’t stand much of a chance assaulting…
With the right flank of the board effectively mine, I wound up focusing my efforts on the left flank–particularly that new tactical squad who had just dropped in. In order to finally secure the “kill a unit in your assault phase objective,” I peppered the drop pod with fire, figuring the carnifex would be able to kill it in assault–only I didn’t figure that he’d kill it in shooting again…
No worries though, I still had a large hormagaunt squad and a Tervigon to charge in. Despite the fact that both made the charge, I wasn’t able to shake the marines, leaving three tin cans standing…
At least my Raveners came through for me though and finally earned my that victory point.
Score – Space Marines: 5 (2) vs. Tyranids 5+1 (1)
Turn 4: Imperial Fists
Thus began the point in the game where everything started to go quickly. His assault marines were going to try to pull something sneaky, but instead they wound up pulling an objective to control, so they just downed a mucolid and called it a day. That would earn them the second “hold objective 6″ from my deck, and leave them out of position, but I’m really not sure what else he could’ve done.
There was some debate as to whether he’d be better off splitting his chaplain off to go hold the objective while his assault squad hopped around. Certainly, having them in combat squads would’ve helped at this point, but who’s to say if that was the right move the entire game (for the record, I think it was).
Elsewhere, his Ironclad was blocked from getting to my Tervigon, but knew he had to get within 12” of my deployment zone in order to score another objective, so he happily flamed gaunts while waiting for the game to end.
Score – Space Marines: 6 (3) vs. Tyranids 5+1 (1)
Turn 4: Hive Fleet Proteus
I found myself with a bit of a bottleneck of bugs trying to get past that infernal pod in order to kill the assault marines. I wound up killing the pod, but it took multiple carnies to do it, and that left me with very little firepower with which to harm the assault marines.
My biovore wound up missing the target and Brandon goaded me into dropping a spore mine (I hadn’t bothered so far this game because I didn’t pull them out of the foam at the beginning, but Brandon’s guilt trip inspired me). So, I had a lone mine out there drifting in the wind…
Score – Space Marines: 6 (3) vs. Tyranids 6+1 (1)
Turn 5: Imperial Fists
That silly little mine cost me a victory point though. Sam had drawn “Death from Above,” which required him to kill a unit with one of his units that either deep struck this turn (nope), or one that had the jump ability. Well, assault marines aren’t notoriously hard units, but when you have a squad full of bolt pistols and plasma, you can generally count on doing a single T3 wound to a floating spore mine.
Brandon set me up for that!
To add insult to injury, Sam also was able to score Objective #5 of mine by stringing his assault marines out in a congo line (the line wasn’t specifically required, but with his bad rolls for the day, he wanted to ensure as many bolt pistols were in range as possible).
Score – Space Marines: 8 (4) vs. Tyranids 6+1 (1)
Turn 5: Hive Fleet Proteus
I unloaded everything I could into the assault marines, but my units were fairly far out of position. I did manage to kill off quite a few in shooting (my Zoanthrope even managed a kill or two before her head exploded), and then charged them with my raveners to finish them off. Sadly, I rolled only a single rend. At least I had killed him out of the ability to assault me back for the turn, so there was a little joy.
The game didn’t end though, I earned one more victory point for killing off his assault squad sergeant and we pushed on to turn 6.
Score – Space Marines: 8 (4) vs. Tyranids 7+1 (1)
Turn 6: Imperial Fists
His ironclad skittered around the ruin to ensure he was going to be within 12″ of my board edge, while his assault marines traded blows with my raveners. Another round of ineffective attacks on my part, lead us trading an assault marine for a ravener: not a good exchange rate, if you ask me.
At this point, despite only having three models on the table, he was still ahead in score. To beat him, I was going to have to win that combat and kill his warlord…
Score – Space Marines: 9 (4) vs. Tyranids 7+1 (1)
Turn 6: Hive Fleet Proteus
His ironclad was out of reach for me, so I had to try to help out the raveners in any way that I could. My Hive Tyrant failed an 11″ charge and a Carnifex likewise failed a 12″ charge (I mean, neither was likely, but I had to try, right?). What I had going for me was with my psychic phase I managed to put up Catalyst on the Raveners, plus Paroxysm on his assault marines–both of which would help my survivability).
I managed to do four wounds including a single rend, and that was the only real thing standing in his way of a victory.
He failed his first normal armor save though, and his Chaplain couldn’t tank the remaining hits (especially since he had taken a wound in the previous round). I wound up scoreing another point for destroying a unit during my turn and one more for holding objective. When coupled with secondary points for Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker (which we both got), I snatched the victory at the last moment.
Score – Space Marines: 9+1 (4) vs. Tyranids 9+3 (1)
What I Learned:
- You can win, even when losing. Sam’s force got fairly well pummeled throughout the game. Maybe it’s because a drop pod army doesn’t lend itself well to maelstrom missions, but whatever the case, he was still in it, even winning throughout much of the game (up until the last turn). That sort of thing really does make for a better game for all involved.
- We played the mission wrong — it wasn’t bad, just different. It meant your opponent got to score your objectives first, but that probably helped Sam stay in the game this time. He managed to score four of my cards and I only scored one of mine. Had we played it the right way, I’m not sure it would’ve been that much different. Sure, he wouldn’t have scored as many of my cards immediately, but most of those that he scored were objectives that I basically never held, so he would’ve scored them eventually anyway).
- I forgot a bunch of things. Throughout the game, I was quite absent minded about some of my rules. I forgot to roll FNP on ravners (losing one unnecessarily against the devastators); forgot to move my spore mines & mucolids; biovoes don’t cause pinning; and even how cover saves work (how did I wind up reverting back to 6th edition rules for that?!)
- Venomthropes are alright. In this game, he was effectively as good as a Malanthrope for me–providing the cover save but no synapse. It was ok, because I always seemed to be within synapse (except the last turn after my second Zoanthrope self-destructed). They’re really not a bad little unit…