Friday, 21 February 2014

It's War Phase 2

Hi guys, welcome to a quick rundown of the second part of our club campaign '40k - It's War'. Phase 1 saw the forces of order lay the smack down on the bad guys, winning 3 of the 4 matches and the resulting bonuses for the final games.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Ton Up!

Here it is then, my 100th post! I thought in view of this milestone I'd take a look back over my gaming life and the life of this blog.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Emperor's will be done


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 used my basic list with 1500 points added in specific to my opponent, so brought:
Captain and command squad on bikes
Librarian with 9 sternguard in drop pod
Two full bike units, one with as many meltas as will fit.
Five man tactical squad with plasma gun
Storm talon
Lascannon centurion devastators with missile launchers and omniscope
Whirlwind
Stalker

My opponent brought a battle suit commander and ethereal, crisis team, three fire warrior units, two pathfinder units, one kroot unit, riptide, hammerhead, broadsides and sniper drones.

We rolled up the emperors will for mission type, with vanguard deployment, and I won the roll off to go first.

Deployment.
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.

Turn 1.
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.

Turn 2
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.

Turn 3
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.

Turn 4
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.

Turn 5
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.

Turn 6
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.

Conclusion

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

Target priority

Hi all, you may have noticed from my post yesterday that I'm up against a Tau army on Thursday. This might not be too remarkable if it weren't for one thing - I've never beaten them yet (unless you count kill team in which case I'm two from two!)

Given my current streak therefore (2 wins in a row not counting carnage games!) resulting from a more considered tactical approach I've been pondering target priority, and how it affects our game.

There's a very basic starting point here, which is that 5 times out of 6, the basic missions in the rulebook require you to hold objectives in order to win. Granted, those aren't always from the troops section, but it's step 1 to say that if you wipe out your opponent's ability to hold objectives, you're unlikely to lose the game. It's no coincidence therefore that some of the best players (well, most difficult to beat) stock up on plenty of units that can take objectives.

Secondly, you want to minimise the damage coming your way from your opponent. There are passive ways of achieving this, including tanking wounds using tough models, taking fortifications or making use of terrain to give you a good cover save, or aggressive methods, which involve identifying a neutralising those threats in the enemy army.

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.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Iron fists vs renegade guard


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.

I was assigned to the Emperors Fist mission, from the space marine altar of war pack, so there were three objectives on the table, and only fast attack choices could start on the board. Fortunately to make up for this, we'd be rolling for reserves from turn 1.


The mission states that I would go first unless my opponent could steal the initiative, so I deployed the only unit I could, my melta heavy bike squad, accompanied by my captain to make them a bit more survivable if my opponent did get the drop on me.

I'd be facing off against guard, using a style I've not encountered before, two leman Russ demolishers, two bane wolves (nasty marine killers if ever I saw them) a pair of lascannon sentinels, a lascannon heavy weapon team, a few guard squads, big conscript squad and an aegis with quad gun.

My opponent didn't steal the initiative so I began rolling for my reserves. Suffice to say I did well, as my command squad, big bike squad, little bike squad, centurions and storm talon all arrived, in fact the only things that didn't were the stalker, which would be largely ineffective against my opponent without flyers anyway, and my small tactical squad, which was only really there to claim home objectives. 

The centurions split their fire successfully, first immobilising one bane wolf, which blocked the second from advancing without a significant detour, and the sergeant blasting apart a sentinel. I was left with a choice therefore, did I sacrifice the storm talon in an effort to gain first blood, knowing that the quad gun would almost certainly be manned in the next turn, or did I keep it away on the other side of the board.

Not being one to shy from the big decisions I threw everything into the ring, and the typhoon launcher took down the second sentinel without needing any help from the twin assault cannons, first blood to me. With that many reserves, my captain also split from the melta bike squad.

As expected, return fire saw the quad gun bring down the storm talon, and I lost a bike from the big squad due to a lascannon shot from an arriving demolisher.

My turn 2 saw the centurions take a couple of hull points from the demolisher and limit it to snap shooting only in its turn 2. The big bike squad shot a few conscripts and the captain managed to wound one of the lascannon team operators. I forgot to roll for my reserves this turn so they’d have to wait until turn three. In my opponent’s turn the second demolisher failed to arrive, though everything else came on, guard and platoon command squads moving to support the lascannon teams. Combined fire saw the Captain lose a wound, pesky plasma gunners exposing my frailties at passing one dice saves (or any saves at all, come to think of it).

Turn 3 and the Captain advanced again, charging the guard squad on his flank. Guess what, he took another wound from overwatch fire, down to 1, and he only went and killed five guardsmen, running down the rest in a sweeping advance that left him exposed in front of a trio of lascannons next turn.

Elsewhere the melta bike squad got close enough to the side armour of the demolisher to put a multi melta shot through it, setting off the ammo store, which killed a few conscripts in the explosion. More conscripts were mown down by the big bike squad, and the little bike squad who’d emerged from their trip round the biggest piece of scenery at the club to claim the third objective. My stalker and tactical squad also both arrived this turn, the infantry running 6” to get as close as possible to claiming the second objective. My opponent’s turn saw the second demolisher cannon speak, evaporating the majority of my command squad, leaving me with a solitary veteran, and the lascannon team inevitably killed the Captain. The second Banewolf appeared again next to where the destroyed demolisher would have been, but was out of range with its template cannon this turn. I lost a centurion around this point, but can’t remember what killed it. The conscripts attempted to charge the melta bike squad, but failed to roll high enough and took a fair few casualties for their troubles, though there were still plenty left.

Turn 4 saw the death of the second Banewolf, the Centurions once again doing me proud splitting their fire to also finish off the first, as despite being immobilised its weapons were covering the centre of the table quite nicely. The melta bike squad headed towards the second demolisher. The two bike squads once again targeted the conscript squad and though they caused plenty of casualties, the commissar ensured they stayed in the fight.

In my opponent’s turn the conscripts charged the big bike squad, though I rolled poorly for damage and the commissar managed to tie the combat through his powerfist, though their numbers were reduced. I forgot here that as I was using White Scars Chapter tactics I could have hit and run with this squad, allowing me to shoot and then charge  in again in the next turn, and that cost me, as the commissar was once again able to cause casualties and keep my big unit tied up.

Turn 5 killed the second demolisher as the multi melta bike got close enough to take the final hull point, and really this was when the game was up, the next few turns saw the commissar bring the bike squad down to a few members, who this time remembered to hit and run, executing the rogue leader in an efficient display of shooting, the melta bike squad also hit and run in the final turn, getting away from combat enough to gain me linebreaker, and the tactical squad kept out of things long enough to reach the second objective.

Final score then and I had picked up First Blood, Linebreaker and Slay the Warlord along with 2 objectives for 9 points to my opponent’s 1 for Slaying my Warlord.

In the other games, Ryan’s Guard eventually ran out 9-1 winners in Crusade against MJ’s twin riptide list, despite neither side causing a single casualty in the first turn. Jon picked up a 4-0 win against Andy’s Guard playing Capture the Relic, and Cal’s Tau put down Frank’s Dark Eldar for the second time in succession, though it took a final turn Warlord kill to secure the win 7-6.

A good night for the forces of order then, winning three of the games and securing themselves D3 infiltrators from Cal’s win (though this will transfer to Martin’s Tyranids, who will be taking over later on), D3 scouts from my bike army, and a 150 point unit or vehicle recycle from Ryan’s force. Jon’s solitary win for the forces of disorder gains their entire team +1/-1 to their reserve rolls in the final game, which will make things interesting, and just about guarantee his twin Heldrakes will turn up exactly when he wants them to (damn!).

Looking forward to phase 2 when the war of attrition begins in earnest!



Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Mission: Unknown



Hi all, today's post is going to be all about missions, and having the tools in your armoury to cover all bases. Inevitably therefore there needs to be some thought about that perennial divider, the tailored list.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Monday update

Hi all, just some pictures for you all tonight, a model by model showcase of the iron fists so far.

Captain Sakai
Apothecary
Company standard bearer
Veterans
And 4 bikers
I've also been putting together an Amera building for the club, though I don't have any pictures of that.