Batrep: Salamanders vs. Hive Fleet Proteus (1845 pts)

Though it hasn’t been all that long since I’ve blogged about a battle report, it has been a while since I’ve actually played a game.  So, last week, we just happened to have an even number of people on game night and everyone brought a list, so we all threw down for a little 40k action.  Brandon and Albert had played recently, so I wound up playing against Brandon…

Brandon’s Salamanders:

  • HQ:
    • wh39kbatrepdeadbugs-2Captain w/ 2x Thunderhammers & Artificer Armor
    • Techmarine w/ Servo-harness
    • 5x Veterans inc. Company Champion, Apothecary, Company Standard, power fist, & 2× plasma gun in Drop Pod
  • Elites:
    • 3x Dreadnoughts w/ Powerfists, Heavy Flamer, & Multi-melta
    • 5x Terminators w/ 1x Chainfist & 1x Heavy Flamer
    • 5x Vanguard Veterans w/ 2x bolt pistol; lightning claw; storm shield; 2× power weapon; lightning claw; thunder hammer; jump packs
  • Troops:
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Grav-gun, Plasmacannon inc. Vet Sarge w/ Combi-grav
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Meltagun, Multi-melta inc Vet Sarge w/ Combi-flamer in Rhino
    • 5x Scouts inc. Vet Sarge w/ Combi-melta & Meltabombs in Landspeeder Storm w/ Multi-melta
  • Heavy Support:
    • 1x Vindicator w/ Siege Shield

As far as lists go for Brandon, this has many of the usual suspects.  He also took a fair number of variations, including a massive point-sink of 3 dreads in a single unit.  I believe the idea was just to throw it out there and see how things go.  By no means, would anyone in their right mind consider this a cheesy list–though, I must admit that I was afraid of it–beyond my usual fear of vindicators.  Maybe that wasn’t so much because Brandon’s list was hard, but because my list had a glaring weakness…

Hive Fleet Proteus:

  • HQ:
    • wh39kbatrepdeadbugs-1Swarmlord w/ 2x Hive Guard
  • Elites:
    • 1x Malanthrope
    • 1x Malanthrope
    • 1x Zoanthrope
  • Troops:
    • 11x Hormagaunts
    • 11x Hormagaunts
  • Fast Attack:
    • 10x Gargoyles
  • Heavy Support:
    • 1x Mawloc
    • 1x Mawloc
  • Fortifications:
    • Aegis Defense Line w/ Comms Relay
  • Formations:
    • Broodlord’s Hunting Pack
      • 6x Genestealers + Broodlord
      • 7x Genestealers
      • 7x Genestealers
    • Deathleaper’s Assassin Brood
      • Deathleaper
      • 1x Lictor
      • 1x Lictor
      • 1x Lictor
      • 1x Lictor
      • 1x Lictor

I build a new list for each game–most often with some sort of mindset or theme behind it.  I started off this game by going with the Swarmlord because I feel like I rely too much on Flyrants (or more specifically: Brainleech Worms) too much.  He’s a huge point sink at 280 points plus some mandatory guard to go along with him, but at 1850, I figured I could make it up somewhere.

I then wanted to use his ability to give me to +1 to reserves and started making a very reserve heavy force, adding in the Broodlord’s Hunting Pack and the Lictor formations.  With so many lictors, I used the Mawlocs as well, and with the emphasis on reserves, I wanted to throw in a com relay to be sure.  Malanthropes would give my army some durability, and I wanted to go with a Pyrovore, but I just couldn’t field such a large force with only three nodes for synapse, so I wound up putting in a Zoanthrope.

Earlier I had mentioned a weakness in my force and that was a way to deal with vehicles.  I didn’t realize it until I saw Brandon’s army, but the idea of dealing with three dreadnoughts in a unit was fairly appalling.  I had hoped to get some psychic powers to help deal with them (ie. Warp Lance) or at least something to help with durability (ie. Catalyst), but neither was in the cards for me.  So few of my units had any chance of dealing with them effectively, that I was going to have to just avoid them completely.

Mission & Deployment:

wh39kbatrepdeadbugs-4For mission, Brandon opted to randomize the mission and we went with an Eternal War game with three objectives.  I already felt behind, and not having the ability to run around and grab objectives made things a little scarier for me.  But what the heck, you can’t win them all, right?

I won the dice roll, and decided to chose board sides and setup first.   That way I could choose whether to go first or second (I was going to go first for sure).   Brandon had setup terrain while I was inside and wound up only putting one building out, despite the vast majority of the available terrain being buildings.  He’s voiced displeasure with buildings before, so it shouldn’t have come as any surprise, but my Broodlord’s hunting pack really couldn’t take advantage of coming onto the table without buildings, so they were forced to deploy.  Likewise, I needed to have some lictors on the table for my Mawlocs to come in with, and my Mawlocs (who probably should’ve deployed, given that would guarantee them the ability to come on first turn) opted to stay in reserve.

In short, my army built upon reserves only used that rule for two Mawlocs (who didn’t need it) and three lictors (including Deathleaper).  Part of that was dumb luck because Brandon didn’t setup buildings, but more to blame was my poor army construction.    I did wind up infiltrating the other lictors and ‘stealers onto the board into areas where I could get some cover and/or threaten some units that were particularly threatening (ie. that Vindicator).

Brandon’s army deployed throughout his side focused around that unit of Dreadnoughts who would march up the center of the table.  To add insult to injury, he wound up seizing the initiative and taking the first turn…

Turn 1: Salamanders

wh39kbatrepdeadbugs-6His command squad dropped down into my backfield and managed to do only a single wound to my Zoanthrope, but the storm bolter on the pod managed to plink the other one off, thereby destroying any chance I had of dealing with armor at range.  The squad of ‘stealers that deployed in the far corner was decimated, leaving only one model remaining and a wounded Lictor to accompany him.

Elsewhere, there were only minimal casualties to my hormagaunts and other genestealer squads.  I did manage to make a few cover saves against the vindicator, and that would essentially be the last time I rolled well for the entire game.

Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus

wh39kbatrepdeadbugs-5The Psychic phase went quickly because I only really had “the horror” that I could cast.  I had no defensive spells, and no ranged attacks that were beneficial with range beyond six inches.  Suffice it to say that I did nothing in this, or any future psychic phase for this game.

Shooting was about on par with that.  The only models I had with guns were lictors and gargoyles–which between seven units did manage to kill two models in shooting over the course of the game…  So, I’ll refrain from talking much about that.

The Swarmlord inched around the drop pod and attempted to charge the command squad (but failed).  Luckily, the hormagaunts made the charge and they could at least tie them up until next turn.  I had the vaguest of hopes that I would potentially thin some models out as well, but of my 27 attacks, I only managed to do 1 wound (which he saved).

One charge I did make was when two lictors and six genestealers managed to charge into a unit of Vanguard (who had failed their charge against me in the previous turn); however, I only managed to kill two of the five models on that turn due to some more fairly horrible rolling.

Turn 2: Salamanders

wh39kbatrepdeadbugs-8Brandon continued his push towards my zone (and the objectives), peppering more units with fire where he could.  His terminators arrived from deep strike and deviated slightly, but landed on the table in about the right spot–between their flamers and the vindictaor, he wound up killing most of my second hormagaunt squad, along with the Broodlord and his buddies (who were in cover and had shrouding thanks to the Malanthrope, but still couldn’t manage to make a cover save).

In assault, he added a combat squad of tactical marines into the vanguard combat and won a second round, but luckily I stayed, despite being out of synapse.  The command squad wound up killing off the other squad of hormagaunts and backing away from the incoming Swarmlord.

Turn 2: Hive Fleet Proteus

By turn two, I had managed to kill a total of four marines (and a fifth had melted himself out of the command squad with his plasma), while completely losing a Lictor, Zoanthrope, two units of genestealers, and nearly two units of hormagaunts.

wh39kbatrepdeadbugs-11But I still had three Lictors (including Deathleaper) and two Mawlocs, all of which managed to come on this turn.  The Lictors positioned themselves behind the vindicator in such a way that they could target either it or the devs.  They opted to fire at the devs and killed two marines, forcing the others to route off the table.  I know I could’ve targeted the vindicator, but I no longer had so many models on the table that a huge pie-plate was as threatening as four missile launchers, so I opted to take out the little guys.  Besides, I figured I had a better chance of killing marines than tanks.

Both Mawlocs arrived, but neither hit their mark. One deviated slightly so as to be locked on terrain and then was misplaced directly into line of sight and charge range of his dreadnought squad.  The other tried to take care of the terminator threat, but deviated onto a nearby spire and was delayed.

My gargoyles, in an attempt to protect my Mawloc swooped forward and provided a screen to allow him to escape and live another day.  I also considered moving them to charge the command squad, to support the Swarmlord, but that was only a six inch charge, so I thought it more important to try to keep the Mawloc alive.

Needless to say, the Swarmlord managed to fail that six in charge on his command squad, as did my Malanthrope on his tactical squad.   Likewise on the far side of the board my Lictor and lone genestealer rolled horribly to move out of cover and neither could effectively charge the other tactical squad who would threaten the nearby Lictors.

Turn 3: Salamanders

wh39kbatrepdeadbugs-12In Brandon’s turn, his scouts managed to outflank on, and did something…  I was so checked out at this point, I don’t rightfully recall.  The turn was a haze at this point.  I do know that he managed to kill a few more lictors, kill off a Malanthrope, and flamed through my gargoyle screen into the Mawloc and charge (and presumably kill) him despite my attempt to screen him.

My attitude was beyond sour, so we wound up calling it here.

What I Learned:

Just about everything that could go wrong in this game, did.  It started off with my poorly designed list that couldn’t really deal with vehicles (though some credit of that goes to the Tyranid Codex, I’m sure), moved onto bad psychic power roles, no buildings, him seizing initative, and my dice being cold for the entire game (while his dice were decidedly hot to boot).  Clearly there’s something to take away from the game.

  1. When to call it.  We called the game on turn 3 because it was not only hopeless but because I was stewing on it.  I tried my best to remain stoic as we have a few in our gaming group who rarely win, but they set a fantastic example of how to lose gracefully.  I just don’t have that in me though–but I’ll keep working on it.  In our discussions, it seems that it’s best to call it when the outcome is obvious and insurmountable (from the point of deployment, it was fairly obvious, but there was always a chance that my dice could be hot and his cold).
  2. One has to have a way to deal with vehicles.  In the Tyranid codex, effectively dealing with vehicles involves Flyrants, Carnifexen, and Zoanthropes.  I feel like I take them all too much and was trying to avoid them altogether.  I guess I could’ve included Hive Guard as a possible option or maybe an Exocrine, but at BS3 and relatively low STR (compared to vehicles), they’re likely just going to spend the game trying to hull point things out.  Though the first three things are likely a crutch, it feels like the Tyranids needs to use them.
  3. I overspent on Reserve tampering.  380 points on the Swarmlord, 70 points on the Aegis line.  The stealers might have been able to deploy differently if there were buildings, but the Mawlocs didn’t need it, and I’m thinking that most of the lictors likely should’ve deployed as well.  That’s too many points invested to help impact a bad rule.
  4. Mawlocs are horrible.  In the last game where I used them, I called them inconclusive.  In that game they at least hit their targets before dying on the turn they arrived.  In this game, they missed.  Frankly, it’s just not accurate enough to use them without Lictors, and even with Lictors, it’s too hard to position them.  I know some people have had success with them, and maybe I’m using the lictors wrong, but these just seem like a trap.  They’re a bad unit that can–at best–fire their “weapon” three times during a game.
  5. The Swarmlord is overcosted.  Honestly, I’m not sure I can make this decision based upon the game that played out, as he failed every charge, but he clearly is too much.  280 point alone is too much, but considering that he needs to have a tax of hive guard to accompany him, that’s nuts.  Why doesn’t this guy have more durability, or fleet, or a points cost reduction, or all three?!?
  6. I need to work on screening.  I should’ve thought about the way I screened my Mawloc with my gaunts and known that he could fire flamers through the birds to get to the meat inside.  Sure, I was fairly well checked out, but that’s no excuse for playing poorly.

 

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