Friday, 8 December 2017

Chapter Approved mission review - Recon

Greetings all, last night I got my first game in with the new missions from Chapter Approved, my opponent (Dave) and I played the recon maelstrom mission, so I thought I'd do a detailed review of the mission and my thoughts on how it changes things up, along with a brief section on what actually happened in the game.

First off therefore let's have a look at the mission rules. This particular mission does contain some significant changes to the game, requiring your army to be split into three roughly equal parts (by number of units thankfully), with the first part (randomly chosen) deploying normally, then all the units from the other two parts being left in reserve (irrespective of the fact that this would mean more than half your army is in reserve, which is normally not permitted in matched play).

At the end of your turn one movement phase, you roll for the units in reserve, which arrive on a 3+. Any units that don't arrive at the end of this turn will automatically arrive at the end of the movement phase on turn 2. These units must be deployed within 6" of a table edge, and wholly within your deployment zone.

In all other respects, the mission is a standard maelstrom mission, with a maximum of 3 cards per turn, which are available for your opponent to see. Secondary mission objectives include first blood, linebreaker and slay the warlord.

So, having now played the mission, one thing really becomes obvious - the deployment method can really affect how the game progresses! My list was a new version of my all comers approach, consisting of the following:

Captain with MC Boltgun, power sword
Terminator Captain with Thunder Hammer, Shield Eternal
Terminator Librarian with force stave and combi plasma
6-man tactical squad with grav cannon, combi grav
Razorback with assault cannons
2x 6-man scout squads with missile launchers and sniper rifles, camo cloaks
5 Bikes with 2 plasma, 1 combi plasma
2 Contemptor dreads with combi bolters and Kheres Assault Cannons
Ironclad with hunter killer missiles, 2 heavy flamers and siege hammer
Stormhawk Interceptor with las-talon, typhoon missile launcher and assault cannons.
Devastator squad with 4 lascannons, armorium cherub

My initial deployment group consisted of the tactical squad in razorback, one of the scout squads and the bike unit, and on turn one, all my units except for the second scout squad, the terminator captain and the stormhawk arrived.

Now, there was of course one huge issue to this - my real beefy core of the army is the contemptor dreads and the ironclad backed up by the terminator captain and the librarian. Sadly, these units weren't in the first block of models deployed on the table, so they were limited to being only 6" from my table edge at the end of my first turn, instead of being 18+" onto the table and threatening my opponent's front lines. Sure, I could have teleported my Librarian into the fray early on, but he'd have been a sitting duck until he was killed.

The mission therefore has a disproportionate effect on an army based on its mobility - a very mobile force will barely be affected by the deployment rules, as on turn 2 they will be able to get themselves across the board very effectively. Whilst I had some mobile element in my list, that heavy hitting core had to wait until turn 5 before it was effectively in range of the enemy, and because I had the first turn, Dave was able to position his own reserves in such a fashion as to negate much of my power because he knew precisely where it was. Of course, I'm such a good player that I managed to turn it round (haha!).

In conclusion therefore, whilst I really enjoyed the mission (and it certainly toned down some of the alpha strike damage that I could have done otherwise if all my units had been present at deployment) I feel that it doesn't really have a balanced impact on the forces that could be used in the game. Eldar will feel less affected by the deployment conditions than Necron for example, and similarly Imperial Guard will not suffer as much as Primaris Marines might.

I'd give it a 6/10 on the basis of last night's experience.

So, onto the game itself shall we?

With much of my army arriving on turn 1 in the movement phase, I wasn't anticipating a huge impact on the game.

My devastator squad walked on from the board edge and took aim at the enemy storm talon, 4 awesome hits knocking it from the sky before it had moved an inch. Guilliman took everything the snipers could throw at him without flinching, whilst an accurate missile from them struck the predator annihilator but only took 2 wounds from the vehicle. On the right flank my bikes unit started raining plasma fire onto the Intercessors facing them, and in the centre my dreadnoughts advanced, the librarian casting might of heroes on the ironclad (making it T9 to hopefully discourage things from shooting at it)

In return, the Ultramarines predator annihilator took out the razorback in one turn, killing two of the occupants as they disembarked another died to fire from elsewhere, and another disappeared thanks to a failed morale check. The Aggressors arrived, and spent most of the game raining fire on my various units, often causing 5+ wounds even on tougher models.

Bobby G did what he does, taking out the scout squad without breaking stride.

As more reinforcements arrived, the Terminator Captain cleared away some Cataphracts that had teleported in (took him two turns though) and the enemy Chapter Master went down under a hail of fire.

The bikes on my right flank kept plinking away at the Intercessors, and then the Aggressors, eventually clearing the former before being finally gunned down in turn 5/6 by the latter.

My contemptors rocked the middle of the board, one of them making an 11" charge into the autocannon predator and smashing it to bits, causing an almighty explosion that killed the last aggressor on my left, and put a total of 4 wounds on the combination of his primaris libby and Captain Sicarius. Bobby G doubled back to take it out, before also clearing away my Terminator Captain and libby. The second contemptor and ironclad cleared the centre of the board for me, and when the game ended on turn 6, I was leading in maelstrom terms by 12pts to 5.

I think my biggest learning point in this game was simply that whilst we all bemoan the draw of the cards sometimes, when reflecting on the game and how you feel it went, you need to be realistic about your performance and that of your opponent, for example Dave's cards throughout were pretty poor, ranging from holding an objective in my deployment zone on turn 1, through domination (also drawn on turn 1) and securing an objective with his warlord, who was on the opposite side of the table. Whilst they weren't dire, they also weren't good, and I took my foot off the gas later on when I felt I was comfortably ahead (to the point of forgetting my psychic phase whilst holding the master the warp card!).

Overall, a very enjoyable game, not one where I learned much about my list because the deployment method really messed up with the plan I had, I'll need to plan ahead for that in the future!

Till next time,

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