Thursday, June 27, 2013

40K Friday on Thursday - Chaos School part 1 in getting schooled. The Apprentices and I finally had time to get in a couple of games of 40K over the weekend and I lost both of them. Here's the rundown:

Game 1 was 1250 points of my CSM's vs. Apprentice Blaster's shiny new Eldar. Here's a blurry picture of the table:

So that's a ruin and a wooded area and a LOS blocker in each deployment zone with a small wooded area and a small ruin in the middle of the table. We ended up with the short-vs-short arrangement so that's why we're looking at it from that angle. The objectives were basically in an "X" pattern - 2 in each deployment zone, 1 in the middle.

Blaster took a Farseer, 2 units of Guardians with missile launchers (sitting on two objectives), a unit of Dire Avengers, a unit of Reapers in that middle bunker, a unit of Harlequins, a Falcon, and a Wraithlord.

My list:

Chaos Space Marines Army                                                                

Unit Name                  

Chaos Lord (HQ)     165
                               Fearless; Champion of Chaos; Independent
                               Character; Terminator Armour; Burning Brand of
                               Skalathrax; Blight Grenades; Mark of Nurgle;
                               Power Fist; Warlord

Sorcerer (HQ)          125
                               Champion of Chaos; Independent Character; Psyker
                               (2); Terminator Armour; Mark of Slaanesh;
                               Combi-Bolter; Force Weapon

Helbrute (Elites)       115
                               Vehicle (Walker); Crazed; Heavy Flamer (x1);
                               Multi-Melta; Power Fist

Helbrute (Elites)       115
                               Vehicle (Walker); Crazed; Power Fist (x2); Heavy
                               Flamer (x1)

Chaos Terminators (Elites)    144
                               Terminator Armour; Mark of Nurgle; Power Fist
                               (x2); Combi-Flamer (x2)
  Terminator Champion  
                               (character); Champion of Chaos; Terminator
                               Armour; Mark of Nurgle; Combi-Flamer; Power

Plague Marines (Troops)      174
                               Fearless; Feel No Pain; Power Armour; Mark of
                               Nurgle; Plague Knife; Bolt Pistol (x5); Bolter
                               (x3); Meltagun (x2); Blight Grenades; Krak
  Plague Champion            
                               (character); Champion of Chaos; Mark of Nurgle;
                               Power Armour; Bolt Pistol; Plague Knife;
                               Combi-Melta; Krak Grenades

Chaos Space Marines (Troops)    210
                               Feel No Pain; Power Armour; Mark of Slaanesh;
                               Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x7); Flamer;
                               Autocannon; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Icon of
  Aspiring Champion          
                               (character); Champion of Chaos; Power Armour;
                               Mark of Slaanesh; Bolt Pistol; CCW; Bolter; Frag
                               Grenades; Krak Grenades; Melta Bombs

Chaos Cultists (Troops)            65
                               Improvised Armour; CCW; Autogun (x8); Heavy
  Cultist Champion  
                               Champion of Chaos; CCW; Autopistol; Shotgun

Maulerfiend (Heavy Support)     135
                               Vehicle (Walker); Daemon; Daemonforge; Fleet; It
                               Will Not Die; Move Through Cover; Siege Crawler;
                               #Daemonic Possession; Lasher Tendrils (x2); Power
                               Fist (x2)
Total Army Cost: 1248
Models in Army: 34

The Plan: 
  • Cultists hold a backfield objective, CSM's hold a forward objective aided by the sorcerer, Plagues hold the other forward objective and threaten the midfield one if possible.
  • The Lord deep strikes in with the terminator unit and fries whatever is close, ideally clearing an objectve.
  • The two helbrutes and the maulerfiend form a "right hook" that powers up the right side of the field to stop the enemy from taking the midfield and possibly supporting the plagues or termies in securing one of the Eldar home objectives.
It's sort of a "refused flank" approach, holding on the left while charging up on the right. I still think it was a good plan, even if the execution failed. The spiky marines' biggest problem is having a lot of stuff that would like to be at 12" or less range while lacking a means of getting there. Between deep striking and a speedy vehicle backed up by more vehicles, I thought I could overcome this. I did not.

I chose to set up first and move first, which was a mistake. It just meant my attacking units were out in the open for the Eldar to blast. I moved up the fiend, the brutes, and the plague marines on the right and did very little to him. He did some damage to my vehicles (Falcon + missile launchers + reapers = quite shooty).

This is pretty much what he did for me all game.
Over on my left I was holding an objective in some ruins with a unit of CSM's setup like normal marine tac squad + sorcerer. Opposing this he had guardians sitting back, plus a wraithlord who also sat back, and a unit of harlies that advanced pretty quickly. Shooting at the harlies was tricky with their shadowseer's power, and I was a little worried about the wraithlord, so I diverted one of my helbrutes over in that direction - another mistake! On Turn 2 the brute was pounded by missile fire, stunned, then finally knocked out on Turn 3, never getting to fire a single weapon. I shot the harlies up when they charged and had them down to about 5 clowns when they hit my squad. By Turn 4 my CSM's were dead and the 4 remaining harlies were having a tea party in the ruins. 

Over on the right the maulerfiend was killed at the top of turn 2, the helbrute was stunned and eventually killed, but the plague marines made it into the ruins to hold the objective. Then disaster struck!

A very nicely painted maulerfiend - not mine, but it is very nice
The deep striking termies + lord came in with a bad, long scatter roll and ended up in a place where impassable terrain forced me to place one of the terminators less than an inch from the dire avengers, creating a mishap! I rolled and Apprentice Blaster got to place my heavy hitters on the table instead of me. They ended up near the back of my deployment zone in some woods, forcing them to take a dangerous terrain test, which one of them promptly failed and died. They spent the rest of the game hoofing it towards the battle. 

"Chaos is Fickle"
The plague marines are left facing off with the dire avengers for control of the middle objective and it's a battle they cannot win. The game ends with me controlling one objective and Blaster controlling two plus first blood and linebreaker, 8-3 for the Eldar.

Lessons learned:
  • I really thought my 10-man CSM + Slaaneshi sorcerer would be able to hold those ruins. 3+/4++ cover/with Feel No Pain, plus psyker buffs + I5 should have made them hell for any attacking unit. Unfortunately for me Harlequins are I6, so they got to strike first and I don't think I made a single FNP roll the entire game. Once they crumbled I had no way to reclaim that objective. I think a nurgle mark would have been more help.
  • All that my armor did was give his Falcon and his Guardians something to shoot. I used to be against putting anti-armor guns on guardian squads but given their usual 12" range then if they're objective-sitting the 48" launcher lets them contribute in a meaningful way against high-value targets even from the backfield. I thought 3 AV12 units was enough to do something but I was wrong. 
  • The deep strike ... I still think the terminator drop-in is one of the few ways for CSM's to get into the enemy's face on Turn 2. Guardians in ruins are easy meat for flamers so that was my intended target but I got greedy, tried to get in close and paid for it. Relying on one unit was probably a mistake. Another unit or two, instead of the helbrutes, would have been a much more reliable approach. Maybe two units of 5, upping each to include a reaper cannon and making that the primary striking force would have done even more.
Ah well, it was fairly close. A lot of 1's in the Harlequin fight and one bad roll for the teleporters and the battle went against me - a small change on either of those and things are looking quite different. I need more battles with CSM's to figure out how I want to run them so there are a lot of unpainted and proxy models seeing action right now. I'm pretty sure there are bikes in my future, so I need to get those built to try them out. I also need some long range firepower, so havocs or obliterators are on the short list as well.

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