Friday, 15 September 2017

Lesson learned part 2 - the fat lady is never early!

Greetings all, welcome to the second part in my new series, where I take an element from one of my games and focus on it in detail, examining how it affected the outcome of the game and what I could have done better, or why what I did was successful. Hopefully it'll prove interesting and if it helps you guys learn something that you didn't know before, then hooray!

This week's lesson is entitled 'The Fat Lady is never early'

Last night my Dusk Knights Space Marines took on an Ultramarines army in a 2500pt game. I took an 'experimental' list including some choices that I've only played once or twice before. These included the Centurion Devastators with lascannons and missile launchers, and a Land Speeder squadron with heavy bolters and assault cannons. I also took a predator with autocannon and heavy bolter sponsons.

Against me was arrayed an interesting list, including some fairly lightweight choices (two tactical squads in particular, and a rifleman dread) but also some incredibly nasty stuff (Guilliman, two leviathan dreadnoughts with stormcannon arrays and the grav flux bombard).

First, I have to say those leviathan dreads are disgustingly evil. I have no issue with powerful weapons that are appropriately pointed and that come with an inherent weakness, but when you take into account the ballistic skill of the platform, the strength, ap and damage of the guns, I can't see anywhere where there's a weakness in the unit, especially when you add in the number of wounds and the 4+ invun save. I continue my view that whilst some forgeworld units are fine, there are plenty that aren't in any way balanced, and those are the units that you see most often (glad to see Alex is not allowing FW stuff at his Never Mind the Blogwars event in November).

Still, let's get on with the lesson shall we? The game was played using the Cleanse and Capture scenario from the main rulebook, and I ended up going second. On turn 1 my predator was destroyed by a grav flux bombard. On turn two, a contemptor and a razorback got the same treatment. This continued throughout the game, with a good chunk of my army being deleted with no comeback from me whilst my opponent made every invun save he had to take (well, not quite every one, but most of them!). I even managed to cause 5 wounds on Guilliman with my Captain's Fist of Vengeance, and watched in horror as Guilliman made every 3+ invun. 3 failed would have killed him, I'd have been happy with even 1 failed as the only reason I charged him was to try and score one of my maelstrom cards, which required one of my characters to wound an enemy character.

Early on in the game then I found myself 7-2 down, with units dropping like flies, and to be honest I felt pretty downhearted about the whole thing - the dice were against me and very much in favour of my opponent and all seemed pretty bleak. But. And it's a big but (no, not that kind - get your minds out of the gutter, haha!). This was a league match, and so if my opponent tabled me or I conceded then he would get 4 league points for a win, whilst only 3 for beating me if I made it to the end with models still alive. Now the awkward cuss in me said that there was therefore no way I was going to concede and hand a free point to a rival, so I kept at it.

The next turn saw me draw two 'defend objective' cards, both of which I had units on at the time that weren't going anywhere and my opponent would really struggle to hurt. The next turn saw me drag the score back to 7-6, and from there despite even more insane luck on both sides (triple 1 shooting at a leviathan from 4 lascannons? Yet more 4+ invun saves made, and then lots of 1's for damage - seriously I think my opponent must have made about 80% of his invuns in this game) I managed to keep pace, and when the match finished on turn 5, I had lost 11-10. We also played first blood from the rulebook in this game, rather than first strike (which allows both players to score a point for killing a unit in their own first turn) which is our normal house rule, and had we played that, then I'd have tied the game up 11-11.

I've written before about taking your foot off the throat of an enemy being capable of the result turning, and in essence today's lesson is the opposite - if your opponent is standing on your throat and you're staring down the barrel of their gun, keep struggling, you never know when their foot might slip and their gun jam, and you need to be ready to make the most of any opening you can.

Here endeth the lesson.

ps. This one game gave me about three ideas for this series, but as ever I'm always happy to receive comments and suggestions for the next post in the series.

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