Sunday, January 29, 2017

40K Sunday - Blood Angels Holiday Battle 3: 1500 points, "Contact Lost Again!"

Jumping up to 1500 points opened up a lot of options for me, and the experience from the previous two fights demanded changes.


  • Mephiston
  • Sanguinary Priest (with a jump pack, Fury of Baal, and Valour's Edge)
I like psykers and the BA's can take a level 3 in Mephiston. He can buff a unit with his powers and also by being a part of it as he is pretty stout in melee. He's an interesting special character and I wanted to try him out.

The priest is there to accompany a jump pack assault squad and improve them both offensively (with his weapons) and defensively (with Feel No Pain). 

  • Scouts: A 5-man squad with sniper rifles and a missile launcher
  • Tactical Squad: A 9-man squad in a drop pod, heavy flamer, and two hand-flamers on sarge. These guys were accompanied by Mephiston.
  • Death Company: A 6-man squad with a power weapon. 
  • Furioso Dread with a frag cannon and a heavy flamer in a drop pod (appeared in the last fight)
Fast Attack
  • Assault Squad: 6-man squad wearing jump packs with 2 plasma pistols, vet sgt with a power sword - the pirest went here (appeared in the previous fights)
  • Assault Squad: 5-man squad with 2 melta guns plus two inferno pistols on the sergeant in a drop pod
  • Bike Squad: 5 bikes, 2 grav guns, and a combi-grav on a sergeant (upgraded since the last fight)
Heavy Support
  • Devastator Squad: 5-man with 4 missile launchers
Looking back at it now this is not a list I would take again. I've learned a lot. It seemed OK at the time though and I had a lot to learn. 

Turn 1 
The Wolves went first, blew away my scouts and tore up my devastators again. All the cover in the world won't save you if someone puts enough shots into them. First blood to the wolves! 

I moved the bikes and the jump troops up. Then I landed two of the pods. 

The drop-melta squad landed right in front of Blaster's trademarked core force of 15 blood claws + priest in a land raider crusader. I figured if I could take it out I would have a notable advantage. I also figured 4 melta shots would be enough to do it. We'll never know about the first thing because I was wrong about the second thing. I believe I blew up a weapon and knocked off a total of two hull points. With 4 meltas ...

The tac squad led by Mephiston landed in between a pack of grey hunters in some ruins on the ground (behind the pod in the pic above), a dreadnought, and the long fangs up in the tower. The original purpose of this squad was to blow up the long fangs but I got distracted by the difficulty of getting the flamers onto that tower so I went for the easier target. Three flamer templates and a bunch of bolter shots hammered them good but left a few alive. Oh, and Mephiston managed to hurt himself with his plasma pistol. One step forward, one step back. 

Turn 2
The far-left (to me) grey hunter squad shot my drop melta squad off of the table, allowing the crusader to turn towards the center of the board and disgorge the expected horde of space wolves. They proceeded to fail their charge roll against my guys and were in a perfect position to be blasted on my turn. 

The space wolf dreadnought charged Mephiston and what was left of the tac squad and Mephiston showed his stuff. First he shot it with his plasma pistol and took off a hull point (overwatch!) and then he cut it in half with his Sanguine Sword! The joke now is that his special psyker power is really a red lightsaber he found somewhere. 

On the BA turn the grav bikers unloaded into the blood claws, the Furioso came down and blasted them hard, and pretty much anything I had shot them up. There were only a few left after this so the assault squad jumped over to deal with the grey hunters emerging from the woods. Meph and the boys finished off the grey hunters in the ruins with a charge of their own.

Turn 3
The Blood Claws move up but are not in a great position. The grey hunters moved up. Oh and the long fangs wiped out the last tactical marine and Mephiston with it. Plasma cannons are tough on marines, especially with no invulnerable save. At least I got to conduct a thorough review of the look out sir rules during these first few turns. Slay the Warlord for the Wolves!

The assault squad charged into the remaining grey hunter squad. The Rune Priest turned out to be geared up for melee and was pretty tough. 

Turn 4
The grey hunters take out the assault squad and poor sergeant nameless! I didn't see that coming but that wolf psyker had some serious wargear! 

The dread blasts the last few blood claws leaving only their wolf priest leader alive.

Turn 5
The grey hunters charge the dread; the wolf priest charges the bike squad. The long fangs are busy blowing up drop pods.

Turn 6
The last biker dies but the Furioso dreadnaught wipes out the hunter squad, including the rune priest, giving me Slay the Warlord!

The End
By the end only my dreadnaught is left alive, while he has the long fangs, a damaged land raider crusader, and his wolf priest.

The game ended 7-1 in favor of the Space Wolves. Yes, the only point I scored was that STW on Turn 6! My cards were terrible! "Go get this objective" - sure, the one I just moved away from? I'll get right on that. I really treated this more like a kill point game and did not pay enough attention to the cards. I'm usually the one who preaches "know your victory conditions" in this game but I largely ignored my own mantra this time. 

This is not an effective anti-tank force
Goats of the game:
  • My way-too-small-for-this-size-battle Death Company started out on the far right of the field opposite a predator annihilator. They spent the whole game moving towards the middle trying to get in on the action and achieved nothing! I did not use them properly at all. That's 150 points of nothing!
  • His Predator started out in that ridiculous position "in" the bunker (ruins) and stayed there the whole game with not much to shoot at once my DC moved off. 
  • My scouts were wiped out turn one by the hunters and the land raider. My BA's are developing a legacy of unfired missile launchers over the course of these games. That's an 86 point squad that served only to give my opponent first blood.
I was fighting stuff like this the whole time too - "hitting on 3's!"

Things I learned:
  • Drop pods are good but not auto-win.
  • Drop melta squads are good but not auto win
  • Furioso dreadnaughts in a pod are a ton of fun
  • Grav bikes are good but a 5-man unit means two of those guys (42 points worth) are just shields for the other three. Why not spend a few more points and take 6 bikes split into two 3-man squads? That's two maneuver units and twice as many grav guns. Why I could even throw in an attack bike to beef them up a bit more.
  •  Heavy Flamer Tactical Squads: I like them, or at least I want to like them, but I'm not sure they are strong enough to be a hammer unit, even with Mephiston there to buff them. The Furioso kind of covers the "nasty anti-infantry template weapons" drop option even better than these guys. Theoretically they should be able to fry a unit, then move in and hold that ground but it hasn't worked all that well in the games I have played with them. 
  • Death Company: they do not need to cover a flank. They need to cover the middle or wherever the action is. Also six is not enough. Need more. I've believed for a long time that if you like a unit in this game and want it to succeed TAKE TWO OF THEM DAMMIT!  From now on I will. 
  • Last, but not least, Mephiston: He is two tons of fun! A level 3 psyker means a decent set of powers plus his red lightsaber. Even without a charge he is WS6 and I5 with 5 attacks at strength 10! That is assuming you got the sword up - and you did because that's his thing. With some buffs from the BA's special discipline he makes his squad better and if they get into melee he is nasty nasty nasty. Sure, he lacks an invulnerable save for some dumb reason but that's why he travels with a squad - look out sir is his invulnerable save! he will be in every force I deploy if I can manage the points at all.


Jeremy said...

I know nothing about the tabletop rules of 40k but I still love reading accounts like this. Action packed!

Blacksteel said...

Hey, if that was something that made any kind of sense without knowing the rules then I'll call that a win.