Friday, 6 October 2017

The lesson learned - the hardest lessons are learned the quickest.

Greetings all, welcome to the latest part in my lesson series, today I'm looking at not a specific tactical issue as such, but that sometimes you just have to grin and bear the pain and keep going, because making mistakes and having your stuff shot/hacked off the table is the best way to make sure you don't do the same thing again (unless you're as thick as I can be!).

Ok, so let's have a look at a scenario from one of my latest games again then shall we (actually, there will be two examples from this game)?

Part 1
Battle round 1. Chaos marines vs Astartes. The Astartes have brought a powerful firebase, stacking up devastators, sniper scouts and razorback around Pedro Kantor for his ability to grant re-rolls to hit.

Chaos have a reasonable force on the table, but around 1/3 of their army is in some form of reserve. This includes 2 sorcerors, Abaddon (or as I call him in my best Yorkshire accent, A bad'un), 5 terminators and 3 obliterators. Seeing (correctly) that the firebase was a significant threat, the Chaos player declares his obliterators will be arriving from teleport reserve, deploying as close as possible to the devastators to allow the other units into the corner of the board behind them.

The Astartes bait has worked. Playing the auspex scan stratagem, the devastators then proceed to fire two grav cannons and two plasma cannons at the obliterators, killing two and leaving one on one wound. The chaos player just lost an expensive unit for the return cost of just a single devastator marine. When looking back at the unit, the obliterators weapon range would have allowed their placement beyond the 12" range of the stratagem, whereupon they could have still fired upon the same enemy unit but from a position of greater safety. Just because you can teleport in 9.1" from the opposition units doesn't mean you should. I very much doubt that the Chaos player will be deploying so close with that unit again, indeed it would be perfectly reasonable to not even attempt to deploy obliterators in that fashion, instead keeping them on the table from the start.

Part 2
Having also teleported in next to the now much reduced unit of obliterators, Abaddon sought to wreak vengeance upon the marines. He charged, he cleaved, and slew the 5 devastators, consolidating into the adjacent unit of scouts.

The scouts fell back, and the second unit of devastators proceeded to fire their lascannons and missile launchers full into the Warlord's face, killing him in a single turn (with some assistance from another unit of scout snipers). The lesson here is that an unsupported character in combat can quickly become a target when there are nearby guns, and once again, the Astartes had quickly despatched a key enemy unit with a significant return on their points investment.

Another instance where the Chaos player learns a very important lesson and is very unlikely to charge unsupported into a unit in the future, particularly when there are heavy guns nearby. This was only exacerbated by Abaddon being the Chaos Warlord, and giving up both slay the warlord and kingslayer with his recklessness.

Part 3
Same game, this time with Abaddon having ruined a squad of devastators in a turn the Astartes player decided that such a character couldn't be left to run amok in his deployment zone, and so in addition to falling back to allow him to be shot, he drops a unit of 5 vanguard veterans in to attempt a charge, getting veil of time on them to allow re-rolls on the charge range.

The firepower levelled at Abaddon does kill him however, leaving the vanguard veterans open to shooting/psychic powers from the remaining elements of the teleporting strike. Unsurprisingly with 2 sorcerors, 5 terminators with combi meltas and an obliterator, even the 2 storm shields carried by the vanguard weren't enough to keep the unit alive.

The lesson - if there's a choice of positions to place a unit, then take the least exposed one.

So, combined all together, each of these lessons is teaching us one important thing - that the best way to learn and avoid making mistakes in our games is for them to have significant consequences (kind of the point of using real-game examples to highlight the lessons in this series). If you forget to use a key psychic power and your opponent let's you go back and do it again, fair play to them for being a good sport but does that really help you remember to use that psychic power at the right time in your next game? Probably not. If however you forget to cast prescience on your plasma squad and end up killing 3 with overheat results, you sure as hell won't forget to attempt the power next time!

Till next time,
The lesson is learned.