Friday, 25 April 2014

Wading through chitin and entrails!

Wow, what a fun game that was, 3000 points per side with no lords of war and no void shield nonsense - an old fashioned game of 40k if you will, the momentum swung from one side to the other and back, and in the end the Iron Fists pulled off a last minute draw with the final roll of the dice.

These are the games that keep you hooked on the hobby I think, and the beauty of playing so many points meant that I could afford an unlucky turn or to lose a particular unit without it completely scuppering my chances.

Before I look at the game itself, I just want to talk about dice, and say that their favour definitely swung back and forth, sometimes favouring my opponent and sometimes me, so no complaints on that score this time!

I rolled for mission and deployment, and we would be playing big guns never tire on the hammer and anvil table. That really couldn't have suited me better, my six heavy support units would all be scoring, though they would give up victory points for being destroyed, and I would have the longest time to shoot at my opponent before he got close. 

I deployed first, making the most if the building in my deployment zone to conceal my sternguard and two combat squads (plasma squad and missile launcher unit), with my centurions on the top level giving them a commanding view of the battlefield.

The rest of my force spread out as you can see in the photo above. My opponent then stole the initiative, surging forwards on turn one and negating the advantage I had from deployment. The only benefit from this was that it meant he would be within range of many more if my guns by the time he'd done moving and running.

My first turn's shooting was frustrating. With three carnifexes (dakka versions) a warrior brood, a venomthrope and a tervigon bearing down on my left flank, I concentrated my fire on the spawning creature to make sure I wouldn't be overwhelmed with hordes of little gribblies too. The tervigon was quickly reduced to a single wound by the centurions and the land raider, but then nothing I threw at it would take the final wound.

I also concentrated some fire on my right flank where the second of three trios of dakka carnifexes were advancing, taking one down through a combination of fire from bike squads, enhanced by my librarian enfeebling the carnifex unit, reducing them to T5.

The next turn saw the eight remaining carnifexes heading for my lines, supported by two venomthropes, two warrior broods, three raveners and a zoanthrope. The second hive tyrant overflew the centurions, trying to cause some damage from its vector strike, but their armour was proof against such attacks. This turn saw the arrival of both 30 strong units of termagants that had been outflanking, one arriving each side, the fire from the unit on my right flank taking down the thunderfire cannon despite the gunner’s 2+ save.


The librarian had blessed the bike squad on my right flank, giving them feel no pain, which saved their bacon to a point from the dakkafexes each hurling 12 twin linked S6 shots their way, though I still lost a few, leaving little protection for the melta guns in the unit. On the other flank, the other bike squad almost disappeared under the hail of fire, the attack bike and a single biker surviving, but falling back from the sheer weight of fire coming their way.


In return, the sternguard unleashed their secret weapon on the termagants, the two heavy flamers clearing 18 of the 30 strong units on their own, with fire from the rest of the squad killing most of the remainder. Lascannon fire took down another carnifex on my left, and the captain and command squad charged the three strong unit in the centre, killing one but being wiped out in the following turn when the warrior brood also joined the fray. The melta bike squad stripped wounds off a dakkafex on the right, and were intent on charging the unit, but the sheer quantity of overwatch fire wiped them out first. The vindicator spoke against an enfeebled unit of carnifexes, killing one and also damaging the adjacent warrior brood, but the hive tyrant and venomthrope passed their cover saves. In return, the vindicator was first stunned by a warp blast and then destroyed by the dakkafexes. The termagant unit on my right flank shot then charged the tactical squads, who put up a valiant fight but were dragged down by sheer weight of numbers.


The tervigon was taken down, the resulting backlash causing the termagant units to attack themselves, wiping out one of them and leaving just half a dozen on that flank. The second tervigon at the back of the board was resolutely holding the objective, having exhausted itself spawning a unit on turn 1.


On turn three the storm talon arrived, gunning down one of the venomthropes and taking away its pesky cover save, finally meaning my lascannons would be doing a bit more damage instead of facing a 3+ cover save. The icarus lascannon on the bastion hit the flyrant, dropping it from the sky and causing another wound in the process though I’d run out of guns to hurt it enough to kill it that turn. The zoanthrope sent another warp blast into the land raider, mangling one of its godhammer pattern lascannons, and the sternguard were wiped out by twin linked devourer fire. The raveners charged the two remaining bikes, but thanks to their T5, the bikes, over the course of several turns, managed to wipe out the combat monsters. The Storm Talon went on the rampage over the next few turns, killing the second venomthrope, then knocking the flyrant out of the sky for a second time, enabling the marines on the ground to finish it off, and then in the final turn it transferred to hover mode, sending two krak missiles into the last remaining carnifex and scattering it into its component parts.


With the venomthropes gone, the centurions, land raider, bastion and melta tactical squad set about the carnifexes on the left, killing both, and the hive tyrant and zoanthrope, all of them falling by the end of turn five. Turn six saw the death of the last remaining synapse creature bar the tervigon holding the tyranid objective, and that meant that the two termagant units on my right flank both broke and ran from the fight, releasing the objective there and ensuring my opponent didn’t score a linebreaker point.


That break test proved the decisive roll, with both warlords dead, first blood went to my opponent and I managed to pick up an extra point for killing more heavy support choices meaning I had earned a 5-5 draw. Looking at the table though, I had two centurions, a whirlwind, damaged land raider, two tactical combat squads, two bikes and a devastator marine left, my opponent had about 20 termagants and a tervigon. I’d have taken those odds every day of the week at the end of the match.


When I saw my opponents list at the start of the game, I revised my expectations, I’ve faced dakkafexes before and the 12 twin linked S6 shots combined with their own T6, 4 wounds and 3+ save makes them really difficult to take down, especially when they’re supported by venomthropes, and these guys were in area terrain too so their cover save was boosted to 3+, completely negating the low AP of the lascannons I’d taken to face them.


Analysing my army’s performance I’d say there were three units that served me well, and a couple that were meat for the grinder. The Storm Talon basically won me the match, taking out both venomthropes to make my lascannon fire much more effective before downing the flying hive tyrant so the tactical marines could kill it and then taking the last wound from the last carnifex. Similarly, and as expected, the centurions killed just about anything they looked at, and they easily made back their points investment in kills. Finally, the bastion. It frustrated me immensely over the first two turns, as despite my devastator sergeant making the lascannon gunner BS5 I managed to roll ones for its first couple of shots. After that though, the lascannon downed the flying tyrant the first time, and its heavy bolters added to the combat squad with melta gun and multi melta inside meant my opponent had to place his models carefully to avoid their fields of fire.


Conversely, although it was expected to a point, the captain and command squad proved outclassed in combat after the turn in which they charged, and though Sakai himself took down a Carnifex, once the warriors added the weight of their weapons to the combat my HQ unit disappeared. If I were going fully competitive, I’d have left this unit out, dropped the chaplain and probably left the captain to man the bastion’s lascannon, and in doing so I could have easily afforded another 3 centurions or similar. My own placement of the thunderfire cannon was what signed its death warrant, and although I only failed one save I was required to make, that was enough to kill the techmarine gunner and see it nullified.

Overall it was a really enjoyable game played against a good opponent, both of us playing to win without arguing over the finest details.