Friday, 21 February 2014
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
Saturday, 15 February 2014
Hi all, got a bat rep for today, following my 2000 point game against the Tau yesterday. And boy what a doozy of a game it was too, really enjoyable and played against a top bloke, with neither side giving any quarter.
I won the roll off and deployed first, putting my Captain, Command Squad and Heavy Bolter bike squad on the right, the Multi Melta bike squad in the centre with the Centurions behind, and the Whirlwind and Tactical Squad behind the building containing my objective.
My opponent kept his Kroot, one pathfinder squad and the crisis team in reserve, along with his riptide (This was significant, the centurions clearly spooked him into keeping it back). The ethereal, sniper drone team and broadsides deployed on the skyshield landing pad to make use of its 4+ save, with the three fire warrior units and hammerhead deployed around it. The pathfinder unit deployed on the roof of a dilapidated bastion.
My opponent failed to steal the initiative, and night fighting failed to kick in.
The Sternguard and Librarian dropped in by the skyshield, the broadsides killing one sternguard. My bikes all headed forwards, the Heavy Bolter team taking a circuitous route behind the command squad to keep out of the early exchanges. The whirlwind opened up first, landing its S4 ignores cover blast right on top of the pathfinders, wiping them out and getting me first blood. The command squad and those of the Heavy Bolter bike squad that were in range opened fire on the nearest fire warrior squad, killing four. The Librarian, Sternguard, Centurions and Multi Melta bike squad opened fire on the ethereal's unit, killing 8 sniper drones and a marksman, leaving just 2 marksmen, 1 drone and the ethereal.
In the Tau turn, the ethereal joined the broadside squad, the hammerhead destroyed the stalker, and everything else shot at the librarian's squad. Three fire warrior squads, the marksmen and the broadsides managed to cause a single wound on the librarian, and killed 7 sternguard.
The Storm Talon failed to arrive sadly, and the multi melta attack bike failed to hit the hammerhead, with the two meltaguns out of range. The Command Squad and Heavy Bolter bike squad moved up and turbo boosted, while the centurions opened fire on the broadsides. Once again they proved their worth, the only thing saving the broadsides being the single drone that had moved up in the Tau phase, leaving one broadside and the ethereal intact on the landing pad. The librarian killed 3 fire warriors with his flame breath power, then died to overwatch fire when attempting a charge.
In the Tau turn, the crisis suits, pathfinders, and kroot all arrived, the crisis suits just narrowly avoiding scattering off the table edge, whilst the pathfinders and kroot both arrived on my left flank, far from my objective thankfully. The Ethereal joined a fire warrior squad, who ascended the landing pad. The crisis suits opened fire on the centurions, killing 2, whilst volleys of fire from the broadside and kroot killed two bikes from the melta squad. The last fire warrior squad killed 2 of the command squad, who fled back towards my table edge and the crisis suit team.
The Storm Talon arrived this turn. The Heavy Bolter bike squad wiped out the remains of the third Fire Warrior squad whilst the command squad headed straight for the crisis team (and Commander). The melta bike squad fired on the Kroot, killing 6 and charging them in the following assault phase, doing enough damage to send them running. The tactical squad took aim at the crisis suits and despite losing their plasma gunner to an overheating weapon, caused three wounds. The command squad attempted a charge into the crisis team and commander, though overwatch fire killed the apothecary, causing the charge to fail.
In response, the pathfinders hit the storm talon with three markerlights, despite needing 6's to hit, though the resulting shots from the hammerhead were shaken off as it jinked away. The tactical squad came under fire from the broadsides and fire warriors, passing 9 saves. The riptide also arrived, killing three bikes.
The Storm Talon exited the table as it was only firing snap shots due to its jinking the previous turn. I finally remembered to fire the deathwind launcher from the drop pod (that'll teach me for forgetting to bring the model with me!) and killed a single fire warrior from the second squad. The melta bikes took aim at the second pathfinder squad, wiping them out while the whirlwind launched enough missiles to kill two fire warriors and take a wound from the broadside despite the skyshield's forcefield. The Heavy Bolter bike squad killed all bar one fire warrior from the second squad, leaving the Tau objective almost open for the taking. The Captain and remaining veteran caused a wound on the crisis team.
The Tau response involved the riptide nova charging and killing the whirlwind and the last centurion, the Kroot regrouping and causing a wound on the multi melta bike, which was then killed by the hammerhead. The tactical squad holding my objective passed another 6 armour saves against fire from the broadside and fire warriors. The Tau commander challenged my captain, knowing I didn't have a weapon capable of ignoring his armour. My Captain took a wound but passed his morale check.
My bike squad wiped out the remaining fire warrior holding the Tau objective and claimed it. The captain caused a wound on the Tau commander and the veteran killed the two remaining crisis suits with his power axe.
The Tau response failed to wound the bikes, though the riptide killed the tactical squad. In the combat the Captain wounded the commander, leaving him just a single remaining wound.
The bike squads killed the rallied Kroot, and though the Tau managed to make the multi melta bikes run, the Heavy Bolter squad was still holding the objective. My Captain finally killed the Tau Commander and with that the game ended.
I held the Tau's objective, and had the points for linebreaker, slay the warlord and first blood. The Tau Riptide was in my deployment zone to claim linebreaker, but they had failed to take my objective.
A victory for the Iron Fists, but boy was it close. The Tau still had a fully functional Riptide, Hammerhead and broadside with an Ethereal and part of a fire warrior squad in tow, whilst I had the remnants of two bike squads and a Captain with a solitary veteran and the storm talon.
Looking back, keeping the riptide back in reserve probably made a huge difference to the outcome, though had it started on the table I'm confident that the combined fire from the Centurions, Sternguard (using their poisoned 2+ ammo), Melta bike squad and Librarian would have seen it toppled in the first turn. I could also have done much more damage by using the sternguard flamers and the Librarian's flame power on the fire warriors in the first turn rather than on the Ethereal's unit with its 4+ invulnerable save, but I've been burned by markerlights before and I really didn't want them boosting the Tau's firepower too much.
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
The first of these threats is relatively easy to identify – though you still need to have a care relating it to your own army. That unit of 4 lascannon devastators for example is not going to be a huge threat if you’ve brought an ork horde with you and you’re dumping over a hundred miniatures on the table. If the devastators were carrying heavy bolters though, or missile launchers/plasma cannons they’d be of considerably more concern. What you need to look out for then are weapons that neutralise your armour save, or ignore any cover you might be standing in (or heldrake forbid – both). Concentrate your fire on these units and your own army will last much longer on the tabletop.
The second is a bit more tricky, both to pick out and also to counter. These are the force multipliers in the enemy ranks. In relation to my game this week, that would be the Tau Ethereal. Others I can think of off the top of my head would be Triarch Stalkers, Imperial Guard command squads, Space Marine Chaplains, Eldar Farseers etc. Basically anything that makes a unit’s shooting/combat more effective or increases its survivability. These units are often used as the focal point of an enemy list, with the intention of maximising any benefit they grant. This could be by means of certain types of units in the case of the Stalker, which only buffs shooting attacks, or within an area of effect, such as the Tau Ethereal. Identification requires a certain amount of knowledge in relation to the enemy codex, because if you don’t know what something does, you’re never going to be able to identify it as a threat properly. Neutralising that threat is a much more complicated issue though, as these units are often characters, and thus buried within a ‘meat shield’ unit to protect them, or hidden out of sight or within transports.
For the character buried in a unit there are two methods to get to them, the first is the application of overwhelming firepower. Concentrate everything you have and there are very few units that will manage to shrug off all of your firepower for a turn. High toughness and a decent save will help, but focussing your firepower for a single turn can do wonders. Of course, that needs to be dependent on what other threats you’re facing, it’s counterproductive to throw everything you have at a single unit if three others are likely to mince your army in the following turn. The second method is the barrage sniper. Barrage weapons remove casualties from the centre of the blast marker, and though you can still ‘look out sir’ the wounds caused, there’s a tendency for force multipliers to be quite squishy so it doesn’t take too many failed rolls to achieve your objective. Precision shots can achieve the same objective, but are far less common.
Characters in transports present yet more of a problem, as they add another layer of protection if that meat shield unit is sat in there with them. There are a couple of sneaky strategies however. Units inside wrecked vehicles are automatically slain if they can’t disembark. You can deep strike a unit to cluster round the access hatch and then shoot the transport to take its hull points. You’re relying on deep striking to be accurate however, which for some armies is easier than others. Of course, high AP weapons can wreck transports much more reliably, so if you can do that first, you can still then fall back to method 1 to apply firepower to the unit.
Possibly the most tricky prospect in terms of target priority however is the horde list that brings tough individual units too, and nothing personifies this more than the Tyranid codex. Yes, you’ll face lists full of big monsters, but roll enough dice and use some high strength weapons to bulk out your fire and those monsters will fall. Similarly, a Nid horde can be dealt with through the application of lots and lots of regular weapons fire. The problem is, when you end up facing a balanced Nid army, you’ll be facing several tough monsters with lots of wounds that are capable of causing serious damage, combined with a horde element that will swamp your fire if it’s too focussed on the big creatures.
In conclusion therefore there are the following sections of your opponent’s army that warrant a high target priority.
1. Force multipliers – leave them too late and they’ll have achieved their purpose even if you put them down eventually.
2. Scoring units – cripple your opponent’s chances by taking away his ability to hold objectives.
3. Firepower units that are tailored to your army – if they’re not equipped to deal with you, leave them till later.
Monday, 10 February 2014
Friday, 7 February 2014
Hi all, here's my latest battle report, and the first of the It's War campaign my club is running over the next few weeks.