Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Guard Testing

Hey! The site's 2 years old. Huzzah!

I got in a couple 2000 point guard test games this weekend, first a rematch against tyranids and then a couple games against Jay's Necrons. Against the nids I played with the following:

Company Command - astropath, officer of the flight, lascannon, regimental standard
Chimera

10 Ratlings

10 Veterans - 3 plasma guns, lascannon
Chimera

10 Veterans - 3 melta guns, lascannon
Chimera

Infantry Platoon
Infantry Command - Al Raheem, heavy flamer, 2 flamers
Chimera - heavy flamer
Infantry Squad - flamer
Infantry Squad - flamer

Hellhound

Hellhound

3 Sentinels

Demolisher - lascannon, plasma cannons

Demolisher - lascannon, plasma cannons

Leman Russ - heavy bolters

I dropped the vendetta for a number of reasons. First off, I obviously don't have one of those unreleased flying bases, and the thing takes up so much room on the battlefield I'm willing to wait. Second, I'm just not that impressed with their capabilities yet. I think fielding more than one would be better, but I just don't know where the points would come from or what would be the best way to use them.

Brandon was playing with a flyrant, a dakkarant with 2 guards, a lictor, 3 warriors with deathspitters, a dakkafex, 2 squads of stealers with carapace, 1 squad of scuttling stealers with feeder tendrils and scything talons, 15 gaunts without number, 8 leaping ripper bases, 2 sniper fexes, and 1 beefed up fex with talons and a barbed strangler. The flyrant made it across most of the table, wrecked the leman russ and right-most demolisher, and was eventually finished off by sly marbo, who emerged from the woods to put a ripper shell through its giant alien crown. The demolishers, ratlings, and veteran squads took pot shots at the guarded tyrant and sniper fex on the left side. Raheem's command squad outflanked on my left, flamed out the genestealers hanging back there. The sniperfex turned around and wrecked his chimera, but another chimera containing the melta veterans pulled up and helped Raheem kill the fex and guarded tyrant, leaving them in command of the nearby objective... temporarily. The lictor jumped out of the abandoned gun turret and scythed Raheem down. In response, I charged in with 10 veterans. The slippery bug easily evaded their clumsy attacks, ripped just one of their number in half, and the rest of the vets lost their nerve and were cut down as they fled. I pulled their transport back and consolidated my position on my home objective. On the right side, the two infantry squads outflanked just behind his own outflanking genestealers and flamed them to death as well. They lost a few men to deathspitters, but enough survived to capture the nearest objective on my right side. The sentinels came in on that side as well but their shooting went wide and they were wrecked quickly. Between the demolishers and the lascannons, I destroyed two more carnifexes, and killed his third and last stealer squad with chimera dakka just in time to seal the win: 2-0.

Here's Marbo making one more attack run against his surviving sniperfex on the last turn:

I really liked the feel of this army, especially Al-Raheem, but the sentinels just seemed really weak with the multilasers, and I am not willing to pay much more to make them effective. For my next game, I wanted to try the psyker battle choir. I'm thinking about converting up my repentia for that purpose, clipping their swords and making them into some sort of witch chain gang. Instead of the whippy matron, I'll use a retributionist model for their handler. I also switched out the flamers in the infantry squads for meltaguns (to possibly combo with bring it down) and changed the hellhounds to banewolfs to give chem-cannons a try.

This was the first of 2 games against Jay's triple monolith list, which also included a destroyer res-orb lord, 4 squads of 10 warriors, and 2 squads of 4 destroyers. The first game, playing for victory points, he went first and moved up in a big line. The psykers targetted the destroyers on the left, made them poop their robot pants, the ratlings dropped two, and they failed leadership and 2 fell back off the table edge. After that stunning demonstration of ULTIMATE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE, IE THE FORCE he brought the rest of the destroyers and the lord through the monolith on my right and unloaded into the psykers, easily wiping them out. I counterattacked with a banewolf and the veteran's plasma guns, destroying them. With his lord and main anti-tank guns silenced, Jay conceded and we started a second game.

Here's his lord and destroyers going after those blasted psykers:

For the redux, we played capture and control with spearhead deployment. I passed first turn to him and we both placed our objectives in our respective corners. He started with only a single squad of warriors in the tower, while I made an arc of tanks 12" from the table center. The psykers jumped in the company command chimera and wheeled off towards the tower while those in range took pot shots. On his second turn, only the two monoliths came in, dropping right in the midst of my armor. He had a good run with 6's and the gauss arcs shook most of my tanks and destroyed both a leman russ and a demolisher turret. Al Raheem came in on my left with one of the infantry squads, while the other infantry squad and Sly Marbo attacked the beleagured squad in the tower. Marbo somehow only drew combat, and when his third monolith deep struck nearby in his next turn, they teleported out of combat and stopped the battle choir's chimera cold, sending them running into nearby cover. A fourth warrior squad teleported through that same monolith in the next turn and he cleansed his home objective for good. Back in my corner, I fought off two different incoming necron warrior squads with plasma and flame attacks from banewolfs and veterans, and an immobilized demolisher took down one of the monoliths with a direct ordnance hit. In the last turn, I circled my wagons to prevent the other lith from contesting my objective. It ended in a draw.

I liked the psykers more than the sentinels, but I wish they had a chimera of their very own to give them a little more protection and mobility. The banewolfs were effing sweet. Their speed and double template death make for a hell of a counterattack. Relative to my first game with the new rules, I didn't really miss Creed since most of my stuff is mobilized, and the heavy weapons in the vets and company command squad are BS4. I didn't use Al Raheem's special order, but his "bring it down" and "first rank, second rank" came in real handy for his flank attacks. Good times. T-minus 6 days and counting!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Guard Experiments

I took on Brandon's tyranids in a 2500 point Capture and Control battle last Sunday using the new guard, based on the summary sheet and what I remembered from the demo book. Here's a few thoughts from that game:

Orders are pretty sweet, and if you like them a lot, you can't not use Creed. Holy crap. If double the (command) bubble is wrong, 4 orders a turn is just plain hellish. In my game Sunday Creed was working overtime from the safety of his command tank and just had loads of fun. I used him to give stealth to a double-hellhound squadron and they came on just in time to burninate a big expensive squad of genestealers. And yes, I will probably also try the triple-demolisher outflank at some point in the future. You got to.

Infantry platoons are somewhat tied together by their new organization rules. You can't start some on the table and hold some back in reserve like you usedta could. Countering assaults with flamer squads after an enemy unit gets left out after winning assault is still effective, even more so with the bladestorm-esque order. And they're cheap enough to not feel bad about sending a whole squad of them to their doom just to stall stampeding beasts headed towards your army's core. I didn't try combining them into bigger squads in that first game, but I'm sure there'll be instances where it will work great, like KP or VP games.

The new heavy weapon team rules are a blessing and a curse. They're cheaper, they score objectives, they simplify wound removal, and they combo well with orders like "bring it down," "fire on my target," and "get back in the fight" for some annoying wack-a-mole type shit, but without the old command rule they are more prone to break and obviously die very quickly to dakka stronger than S6. The missile launcher teams in my infantry units were more survivable. It's a little weird when you first realize you only have 9 models in a squad with that setup now!

Lumbering behemoth and demolisher cannons + plasma cannons = awesome but it seems like the LRDs are just too expensive for what they do. They can put out some ridiculous firepower, but rear armor 11 is just not that big of a deal and the longer range of the standard battle cannon russ is calling my name. With three of those bastards I can hopefully shut down annoying dakka squads like lootas quickly. My AP1 and AP2 shooty squads (melta and plasma veterans, heavy weapon teams, vendettas) can still intercept and handle big threats.

Marbo was fun but died a little too quickly. The best use of him would be to place him in cover when he comes in, close enough to the edge to deny an enemy a cover save from the demo charge but still eligible for his own 3+ cover save from stealth. He's just one more thing the enemy will need to shoot at while the tanks continue their shelling and the hellhounds move up to bathe light infantry in burny goodness.

Based on some of the lessons learned in this game and conversations with other folks, I made a new list, one that probably falls on the heavy side. As it turns out, I will likely use those old chimeras as-is for at least few games.

Company Command - astropath, officer of the fleet, regimental standard
Chimera

10 Ratlings

Guardsman Marbo

Full Pysker Battle Squad
Chimera

Veteran Squad - 3 meltaguns
Chimera - heavy flamer

Platoon Command Squad - 2 flamers, heavy flamer
Chimera - heavy flamer
Infantry Squad - flamer
Infantry Squad - flamer
Heavy Weapon Squad - 3 lascannons
Heavy Weapon Squad - 3 lascannons

Hellhound - smoke launchers

Hellhound - smoke launchers

Vendetta

Leman Russ - heavy bolter sponsons

Leman Russ - heavy bolter sponsons

Leman Russ - heavy bolter sponsons

That's a lot of ordnance, templates, dakka, and AP2 shooting right there, with enough scoring units and transports to hold my own in an objective mission. I haven't tried playing with them yet, but I'm convinced those leman russes would really put the hurt on shit with the battle cannon and heavy bolter salvo all going at once. I got myself talked into using a psyker battle squad by that master of all things evil, Minus67. When they're not assisting the ratlings in pinning folks or sending nobs running for the hills, they can pour out their own large high strength blasts, all from the safety of their chimera. Even when they inevitably get chased out, they can just trade for one of the other ones likely to be sitting around nearby. The Vendetta might just be there as a placeholder really, as I'm already thinking about building me a Devil Dog to zip around dropping melta blasts on approaching land raiders. Can't wait for May 2!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Choices Choices Choices

So I picked up 2 chimeras in a trade a while back, and I've decided to Forgeworld them up into a pair of the new artillery tanks. For my initial list with the new codex, I'm going to try to squeeze in a company command with an officer of the fleet, ratlings, stormtroopers or grenadier veterans in a valkyrie, vendetta, or chimera, an infantry platoon with a couple lascannon squads, a demolition vet unit, a recon sentinel squad, a couple hellhounds, and as many demolishers I can get. With that in mind, here's a few options for 2 more tanks (pics from the FW online store):

Medusa

The Medusa would make a great anti-vehicle tank, firing indirectly with the bunker buster shells, but with the lascannons, melta guns, and demolishers, I'm probably good on stopping armor already. Still, the model is pretty cool and relatively cheap and only a bit more than the basilisk points-wise. I could even get a third conversion kit and change up my existing basilisk to make a trio of these guys.

Manticore

The Manticore is a really neat model and several large strength 10 blasts a turn sounds like a good time, but they're fairly pricey on points and dollar bills. I'm not ruling it out but probably a long shot.

Hydra

I think I've saved the best for last. Together with the hellhounds and ordnance they could peel the numbers off horde armies and put the hurt on skimmers and nob bikers, too. I'm really leaning towards a couple hydras as a third heavy support slot. At 75 points base they're a steal. Unfortunately, like the manticore, 2 kits would run me about $85, which stings a bit.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tournament: Battleforge Games 4-11-09

Great example of how you can be up one week and totally suck it hardcore the next. For the hobby tournament at BFG I decided to roll with a mixed chaos force led by Abaddon. I thought including a lash sorceror might be pushing it a bit, but shit, I could have rolled double lash and still gotten my ass handed to me in these games. It seems to me now that small elite forces are just getting shittier and shittier with each new codex. And I was initially thinking about taking space wolves! Ha!

Here was my list:

Abaddon

Sorceror - mark of slaanesh, lash of submission

8 Berzerkers - skull champion w/ power fist

8 Plaguemarines - 2 meltaguns, plague champion w/ power fist & personal icon
Rhino - extra armor

10 Thousand Sons - Sorceror w/ bolt of change & personal icon
Rhino - extra armor

10 Lesser Demons

Defiler - 2 CCW

3 Obliterators

Land Raider - possession

Game 1 - Orks

Primary Objective: Victory Points (win by 300)
Secondary Objective: Have a scoring unit in your opponent's deployment zone
Tertiary Objective: Have a scoring unit and no enemy scoring units in your own deployment zone.
Bonus Points:

My game against Daniel started innocently enough. He had a varied mix of orks including a warboss on a bike, 7 or 8 standard ork bikers, several big boyz squads, a couple boyz squads in trukks, a battlewagon with a bunch of nobz, 12 lootas, and 2 looted wagons with boomguns. He rolled for first turn and table edge and spread everything out pretty evenly. Given the victory conditions and the disparate sizes of our respective armies (I mean, look at the fucking picture, are orks broken or what??), I tried to concentrate my forces on one side and hoped to break through with Abaddon as my primary bowling ball. On his first turn he easily destroyed the defiler with max shots from the lootas. Of course my first turn when I pulled forward to meet the bikers Abaddon charged into the warboss and rolled a '1' for Drach'nyen, suffered a wound, and died to the return powerklaw attacks. That was pretty much the end, it just went crazily downhill from there, including the sorceror and plaguemarines getting pinned and wiped when their rhino died and 2-3 failed psychic tests. He ended up with full points. Just a ridiculous, spirit-crushing first game. My only consolation is the severe, severe pain I hope to inflict on fucking orks when the new guard book comes out.

Game 2 - Witch Hunters

Deployment: Spearhead (w/ nightfight)
Primary Objective: Seize Ground (5 objectives)
Secondary Objectives: Choose and destroy one enemy non-scoring unit; this unit must also start in reserve (or -1 to reserve rolls if it normally does already)
Tertiary Objective: Destroy an enemy HQ unit

John had a cool witch hunter/grey knights army including Karamazov, three sister squads with flamers and heavy flamers in rhinos, a big squad of grey knights with a couple psycannons, 8 seraphim with 2 twin-hand flamers, a dominion squad with 4 meltaguns in an immolator, a celestian squad in an immolator, and 2 exorcists. This game was pretty close starting out, as we traded tank-busting melta assaults at the frontline while his sister squads circled around on my flanks. His mechanized troops evaded lash for the most part and I wasn't able to really zero in on anything. Mostly I just tried to keep Karamazov at a distance until I could make a decisive attack with Abaddon. On my left two sister squads emerged from their rhinos to lay down some flamer hate on the berzerkers, who had been evicted when the dominions destroyed their land raider. The 3 survivors, along with Abaddon and the defiler, counter-attacked and wiped them out. I got caught up in the violence and could have been a little closer to the objectives when time ran out. As it was I was only up by 1 and so we got a draw on the primary objective, he earned the secondary, and noone got the tertiary.

Game 3 - Space Marines

Deployment: Pitched Battle
Primary Objective: Capture and Control
Secondary Objective:
Tertiary Objective:

I was just saying I hadn't played against Frank in a while and of course we got paired up in the third round. He had a librarian with gate and smite, an assault cannon/heavy flamer dreadnought, a bunch of Grey Knight Terminators, a small squad of marine terminators, three bikes with 2 flamers, a squad of sternguard in a land raider, a big combat-squadded, outflanking scout unit, and a vindicator. The thousand sons and defiler tried to hold down my home obective in my far left corner, while everyone else attacked on my right towards the grey knights sitting on his objective. The defiler lost its battle cannon to a single first-turn lascannon shot from his land raider and so I charged him forward to intercept the approaching terminators and librarian. The walker killed the psyker but the return powerfist attacks from the terminators easily destroyed him. They consolidated 6" closer to the thousand sons and charged in on the next turn with one of the outflanking scout squads. He was then firmly in control of my home objective. It was up to my forces on the other side of the board. Unfortunately, Abaddon charged in for his first combat of the game and rolled a 1 once again for the demon weapon and went down to the return S6 power weapon attacks. Cue Price Is Right letdown sound effect. I was done! The end! Bah!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tournament: Dragon's Lair 4-04-09

Dragon's Lair hosted the first of 2 tournaments in the A-town this month, a 3-round 1850 matchup using the standard missions and deployment types. There were 10 people playing, mostly familiar faces (though a bunch of folks were out of town for Adepticon). I went 3-0 against some nice folks and everything came up Bully. I took a guard/demonhunters list:

Doctrines - drop troops, iron discipline, ratlings, grenadiers, close order drill

Command HQ - J.O. w/ bolter, iron discipline, veteran w/ company standard
Anti-Tank Squad - 3 lascannons
Anti-Tank Squad - 3 lascannons

Demonhunters Inquisitor Lord - psycannon, psychic hood, seer, 2 mystics, 3 warrior henchmen w/ heavy bolters

5 Veterans - 3 meltaguns

10 Ratlings

Infantry Platoon
Command Squad - J.O., 2 flamers
2 Infantry Squads - flamer

10 Stormtroopers - 2 meltaguns
Chimera - hull heavy flamer, extra armor, smoke launchers

Hellhound - extra armor, smoke launchers

Hellhound - extra armor, smoke launchers

Leman Russ Demolisher - hull lascannon, sponson plasma cannons, extra armor

Leman Russ Demolisher - hull lascannon, sponson plasma cannons, extra armor

Leman Russ - hull heavy bolter, sponson heavy bolters, extra armor

All in all it worked pretty well, with the dakka, lascannons, and ordnance blasting vehicles and tough infantry while my own troops held back in reserve to make late-game objective grabs, intercept assaulters, and/or prevent easy kill points. With some practice using reserves, guard is pretty awesome already - if the new book is as good as folks are saying it is... prepare for the new green tide of cheese.

Game 1 - Imperial Guard

Mission: Seize Ground (5 Objectives)
Deployment: Pitched Battle

Greg had drop troops and carapace armor guard, with a 4-meltagun HQ, 3-meltagun veteran squad, 3 infantry platoons, including 1 with lascannons and 2 with various special weapon loadouts, and 2 standard russes. I won first turn and commenced firing. Even though his deep-strikers never landed within mystic bubble range, I still pretty much shot the hell out of everything he had on the board over the 6-turn game. Hellhounds were his utter doom until he destroyed one and broke the other one's gun. My troops came on from my table edge to counter-attack one area where he dropped most of his guys, pouring it on with flamers and hellguns before moving up to retain objectives. I won with a major victory.

Game 2 - Eldar

Mission: Capture and Control
Deployment: Dawn of War

Bryan was playing with his usual Eldrad/Yriel flying circus, including a serpent full of fire dragons, a few pathfinders, three squads of dire avengers in wave serpents, and 2 fire prisms. I deployed the Command HQ, 2 lascannon squads, and the stormtroopers in their chimera, deep-struck with the meltagun vets, held the infantry platoon in reserve, and brought everything else on in the first turn. He shredded my forward lascannons with Eldrad's dire avengers, but I disabled their transport, pinned them with ratlings, and whittled them down for the rest of the game. Eldrad did survive to pester me with eldridtch storms and such until one of the hellhounds roasted him alive. I also sunk the fire dragon serpent and left them stuck in the middle of the board, wide open beaver for my inquisitor heavy bolters to wipe them out quick. After I broke one of the Fire Prism's cannons, he rammed the back of one of my hellhounds, immobilizing it. He attacked my objective with two of the dire avenger wave serpents, including the one carrying Yriel. I shredded the dire avengers but Yriel survived to charge into my infantry squads right on top of my home objective, killing one and tying up the second until the end of the game. The stormtroopers advanced along my left flank and assaulted the pathfinders who had come from off the board to take his home objective. After dispatching the eldar snipers, they survived a fire prism drive-by and managed to meltagun it to death with double 4's on the damage roll. They held tight till the 6th turn. I won 1-0, which gave me a minor victory.

Game 3 - Eldar

Mission: Annihilation
Deployment: Spearhead

Chris had a pretty bad-ass walking eldar army, including a farseer with doom and fortune, an avatar, 2 squads of 9 fire dragons in wave serpents, a big squad of harlequins, 3 squads of dire avengers, and 2 wraithlords. I basically castled up in my home corner while he started his gunline up close in a 12" ring from the center. Things started off really well when I managed to demolish one of the fire dragon wave serpents to my right and the other immobilized itself to my left on some terrain while trying to tank shock my ratlings. Other than a few bright lance shots my armor was safe for the remainder of the game. I targetted the avatar and fire dragons first while he moved up en masse. My chimera's heavy flamer killed most of the fire dragons on my right and one of the infantry squads came on from my table edge to finish them off. Their primary mission accomplished, they held off a wraithlord for several turns before a lone dire avenger joined in to put them under. My hellhounds and infantry command came on my table edge right behind my tank nest just in time to burninate the farseer and harlequins, who had just swept a lascannon squad in close combat. At the last second I managed to pound a wraithlord with ultra-accurate lascannon and plasma fire from the demolishers. I won 8-4 and got a victory. The margins of victory had not been set up before the match so things got a little confusing at the end, but I finished in the lead, Chris got 2nd, and (a third guy - somebody remind me what his name was) got third. I picked up a third demolisher and 20 more catachans to help me flesh out a killer army with the new book in May.