Tuesday, 22 May 2012

War of the Roses - Day 2

I started day two on  30/60 tournament points, pretty squarely in the usual mid table position I aim for. Day one had been a mixture of great games with some silly mistakes by myself, possibly one of the most enjoyable near  tablings I’ve been subjected to (a tribute to my opponent) and the deciding round 3 of me vs. Bennett  (I claim the win here 12 – 8 is clearly a win to me!)


Game 4 vs. Gareth Donelly - [Black Templar]. 
Primary: Seize Ground (3 Objectives),
Secondary: Capture and Control,   
Deployment: Spearhead.

This was actually quite a nice game for me, I’ve been considering the next evolution of the Skull Reapers and I was thinking along the lines of Black Templar. Gaz was using pretty much what I was thinking of doing. Four units of Terminators with two cyclone each, some power armour deckchairs, Typhoons and a couple of characters. It would be nice to see how it played, even if on the receiving end of it.

I won the roll for turn and chose to go first, I wanted to start the fire fight on my terms. I kept a Rhino with the Rune Priest and a Razorback with Grey Hunters in reserve so arrive on my board edge. The former would race for his home objective which I assumed would only have a deckchair unit on it, the later was for securing the Primary objective in the other quarter of my half.  Gaz responded by keeping two of his Terminator units in reserve as well as all the Typhoons and one deckchair. It was going to hurt when they walked on his board edge and got to shoot krak missiles at my tanks and troops.  The remaining army hid behind a large LOS building in his deployment zone.

For my turn one I shuffled a couple of vehicles over to get LOS on the Terminators behind the building and advanced my other Rhino and Lone Wolves towards the centre objective.  However I hadn’t accounted for the ranges and my Razorbacks and Long Fangs turned out to be a couple of inches to far away to reach the Terminators, so my first turn of firing was wasted. Gaz’s turn one was very quick. The Cyclones advanced from behind the building and into range of the Long Fangs, whilst keeping the other 3 members of the squad behind the building for cover saves. Eight Krak missiles flew at my Long Fangs in cover and killed a four of them. Other than that, nothing.

Turn two saw my deckchair unit arrive and immediately run for the LOS blocking building which my objective was hiding next to. The Rhino with Rune Priest arrived and headed straight down the right board edge. His objective was guarded by two terminator squads as well as the deckchair unit but I was hoping his terminators would move off to push the two seize ground objective in the centre of the board and my half. Having advanced his Terminators my missile launchers were now in range and Lascannon and missiles flew down the board. Targeting one squad we managed to kill off 4 of the 5 members including one of the cyclone launchers, this was partially due to Gaz’s poor saves failing a couple of 2+ saves as well as 4+ cover saves. In Gaz’s turn, both Terminator squads and a Landspeeder arrived from reserves. The Terminators walked on from his board edge and put them dangerously close to my side. Luckily their first salvo of missile wasn’t too successful, only managing to knock guns off or immobilizing Razorbacks.  Several missile fired on my Rune priests Rhino, but again didn’t destroy it.

Turn three wasn’t overly successful from my point of view. Attention was turned to the newly arrived Terminators, but Melta, Missile and Lascannon fire was largely unsuccessful. The one shinning point was the Rune Priest, who leapt from the Rhino as it continued to speed toward Gaz’s home objective and managed to drop two Terminators down a large hole in the ground courtesy of Jaws, one of which was a cyclone. However now stood on his own , in cover, I knew he was going to face a barrage of revenge firing from the Black Templars. The Lone Wolves advanced towards the Terminator squad with the Emperor’s champion, but were unable to charge. In Gaz’s turn, the unit of Grey Hunters which had leapt from a Razor back to fire Melta faced the wraith of their victims, in a combined firing and combat they were easily swept from the board, whilst their Razorback lost its Plasma gun. As expected the Rune Priest came under fire, what was unexpected was how many 4+ cover saves he made. Although he was killed in the turn I suspect Gaz didn’t want to fire quite so many people at him, and would have preferred to fire some at the Rhino, but the Rune Priest was in line for a devastating Jaws in the following turn and would have to be silenced. One Lone Wolf was shot and then charge by the Emporer’s Champion squad, and managed to account for a single Black Templar before being pulled apart.

Turn four and my remaining Razorback reserve arrived and headed for the Sieze ground objective in my half of the board.  Gaz only had two scoring unit so was limited to what he could hold, based on the positions of the unit he was clearly aiming to secure the two objective close to his table edge. If I could ensure I held at least one of each I would at least be able to secure a draw. My firing in this turn also proved less than successful. A couple of Terminators died to Lascannons, but the Missile launchers mostly bounced harmlessly off their armour. Similarly my Rhino delivered its Grey Hunter payload onto Gaz’s home objective, only to have a terrible round of firing and killed zero of the defenders.  During his turn four Gaz’s unit of Terminators charged onto the hill in my deployment zone and butchered the Long Fangs stationed there, they were poised to strike my Home objective, my assault on his home objective was brutally cut down in a hail of bolter and missiles. There was no way to win the Secondary mission, it would all be about the 3 remaining marines hold my home objective,  three marines which had half a dozen Terminators baring down on them.

Turn five and I had a half dozen Terminators to kill before they took my home objective away from me. Razorback turrets swung around and unloaded all guns into the squad, as the AP2 fire cleared a single terminator still remained….. but wait, those two Long Fangs in the wood, they haven’t fired. Two shots, One Hit, One Wound …… One Failed 2+ save. To say I was lucky was an understatement, my home objective was not secure. In his turn 5 Gaz turned his attention to my scoring unit in a Razorback sitting on a primary objective. Several missiles, Las Cannons and a melta gun later the vehicle was still there, minus a weapon, shacken and immobile, but still hiding it’s precious cargo. At the end of turn five it would be a clear win to me. I controlled primary 1 – 0, it was a draw on secondary and I was probably slightly ahead on VPs, so obvious there was a turn six!

Turn Six, Gaz had one more units of Terminators in the centre of the board and threatening my objectives, The Las/Plas turrets swivelled again to open fire on them, this time however with less success. A few were killed and importantly taking them below half strength for VPs. However the squad advanced towards the primary objective in my half. In Gaz’s turn he moved his second deckchair unit the primary objective in his side of the board, whilst the Razorback took another battering. More Str 8 / 9 shots rained in on the vehicle and remarkably it didn’t blow up (it was now an immobile weaponless bunker, but still there) His Terminators shot at then assaulted another unit of Long Fangs but didn’t manage to cover the ground to objective. At which point the game ended. It was draw on both objectives and Gaz was slightly ahead on VPs. Overall a really enjoyable game and a great way to start the 2nd day. It did highlight that I struggle against Terminators a little, but do have the Las and Plasma to deal with them, it’s just concentrated in a few of my models.
Result: Draw  9 - 11 
Game 5 vs. Rob Edwards - [Grey Knights].
Primary: Annhilation
Secondary: Cleanse,
Deployment: Spearhead.

Rob also writes a blog, and you can see his version of the write up for this battle report HERE. When Rob got out his force I realised it was the Paladin Blob army he’d been posting on his blog. With only 7 kill points in the army, and one of those being 10 Paladins with feel no pain, it was going to take an act of God for my to win Primary, I had more tanks than he had KPs! Rob won the roll for first turn and deployed aggressively as far forward as he could with his main blob. The Dreadnoughts all took up position in a ruin at the back of the board. I chose to hold my Razorbacks in reserve, the hope being that if Rob advanced across the board he’d be in range for a drive on and rapid fire from Plasma gun on the Razorbacks, plus I may be able to get them on with LOS to the Dreadnoughts hiding at the back.

Turn one for Rob was quick, Paladins advanced and the majority of the Dreadnought fired on the Long Fang pack with the Las Cannons. Annoyingly wound allocation and failed saves killed both Las Cannons and nothing else, this was rather frustrating for me. My  turn was equally as fast, my Rhino with Rune Priest advanced into the centre of the board to cover the advancing Paladins with the psychic nullification of the Priest as well as hopefully bait the unit forward more into my Plasma Trap range.

Turn two saw the five man Paladin squad shoot and assault one of the pair of Lone Wolves that were advancing towards them. In a blinding display of saves the Lone Wolf killed two paladins with loss and therefore forced them to make a -4 leadership test, which they failed and broke. It would now be a fairly simply affair for my Lone Wolf to escort them off the board, with only the Dreadnought able to pressure him (and with 2+ save and 4+ feel no pain, I should hold out long enough for this). For my turn, two Razorbacks arrived from reserve on my extreme right flank and took pot shots at the Dreadnoughts managing to immobilize it. The Rune priest jumped out and managed to cast Jaws killing a Paladin, more melta and Missile fire crashed into the unit but for very little affect.
Turn three and the Solodin arrived and ran into cover, completely out of LOS unless I made it right into his corner, this effectively stopped me from tabling him and pretty much lost me any chance of a win, I was already behind on KP and was haemorrhaging them fast.  However I did manage to score my first KP as his smaller Paladin squad ran off the board. Both Lone Wolves now headed towards the larger Paladin squad to see if they could repeat.  Rob’s fired his dreadnought at exposed rhinos and Razorback securing a larger lead in KPs. For my turn the remaining Razorbacks arrived an opened fire on the Paladin squad, but each Las Cannon was allocated to Draigo, who’s 3+ save and eternal warrior prevented the unit from taking huge damage. My Rune Priest manoeuvred into an excellent line which would take out the Medic, Psy-Cannon and two more Paladins with jaws …… then Periled and died. Again firing was largely unsuccessful.
In Turn four Rob made his single biggest mistake of the game in my mind. Draigo detached from the blob and headed towards the Grey Hunter squad in the centre of the board. He charged them and killed three but the remaining marines, including their melta gun, broke ran 11” away and then rallied, leaving Draigo stranded at the centre of the board. The last of the Lone Wolves was shot dead by a Dreadnought before it could charge the Paladins and repeat the fate of the smaller squad, however with Draigo now on his own in my mind the damage was done. For my turn my firing was split, meltagun armed Grey Hunters raced forward into 12” range and Draigo’s remaining wounds were evaporated in a hail of AP1 superheated metal. Meanwhile the Paladin squad were without Draigo’s protection and the Las-Cannons took full affect, a handful of the Terminators were felled by the AP2 double tap shots which dropped the squad below half strength.
Turn Five and Rob started back peddling the Paladins. He was comfortably ahead on KP now and wanted to ensure I didn’t wipe the blob out. The Dreadnought also moved so they were out of LOS of the Long Fangs. For my turn I pressed forward, I couldn’t get an worse on KP and if the game ran to 7 turns I may be able to table him. Razor backs drove 12” forward and launched smoke in an attempt to deliver their Grey Hunter payloads into the middle of Rob’s quarter in turn six or seven, again firing wasn’t overly successful as the majority of the long Fangs had to move in order to re-establish LOS.
We rolled into turn six, Rob continued to retreat the Paladins taking care to keep the in cover where possible and out of LOS. He popped more of the assaulting Razorbacks with his dreadnoughts  thus preventing me from reaching his solodin. For my turn I pressed onwards hoping for a turn seven but it wasn’t to be.
As I expected there had been no act of God and I’d been convincingly defeated on Primary, but control three of the four quarters for secondary. With a slight advantage on VP due to killing Draigo and taking 50% of the big blob’s VPs.
Result: DRAW  9 - 11  
Game 6 vs. Gordon Wilson - [Grey Knights].
Primary: Seize Ground (5 Objectives),
Secondary: Annhilation,
Deployment: Pitched Battle.

Last Game of the tournament and I’d slipped slowly down the rankings each game today after facing Terminators and more Terminators, so you can imagine my facial expression when my opponent put down his tray containing 22 Terminators and 3 Dreadnoughts. Turned out these weren’t Paladins and there was no Draigo, there was 20 Terminators with two grand marshals. I won the roll and opted to go first, deploying a heavy firing line across the board. My Opponent rolled for his grand strategies and scored enough to give ever unit something, then he made an odd choice, he gave one of the blobs of terminator and a dreadnought scout and then put then into reserve to outflank. The remaining Dreadnoughts we also held in reserve to walk in from his board edge. I can only assume he was worried about me popping them with my first round of firing it he deployed them. What this meant was that the only unit on the board was a single 10 man terminator squad with both Marshalls attached.

In my turn one the wolves advanced, Razorbacks moved to bring their Las-Cannons to bear on the unit. One of the Long Fang units had to move as they were out of LOS and range, but also close to the board edge and at risk from the outflanking units. In the firing phase Lan-Cannons and Missile Launchers cut down some of the Terminator.  The Rhino with the Rune Priest shot forward 12” and the Squad disembarked. Casting jaws the Priest caught 3 Terminators and killed one.
For his turn one Gordon opened up on the Rune Priest and squad. Unfortunately my saves were on fire and only a single marine died.

Turn two and some tanks remained stationary to fire both Las-Cannon and Plasma guns, the Rune Priest repeated his trick and dropped another Terminator, then Gordon failed a Ld10 test and the remaining squad fled off the board.

Rolling for reserves only the out flanking force came on, and then rolled the wrong board edge for both putting them over 24” away from my nearest squad. At which point my opponent conceded the game.

Result: Win  20 – 0

Although a little disappointing to win the last game by forfeit, I think I’d have got 17 or 18 points from it, I’d already dealt with almost 1000pts of this army for the loss of 1 Grey Hunter and his new reserve were well out of range, The Razorback would be able to snipe with relative safety.
Overall I finished 22nd of 60 which I’m happy with. The wolves performed well for their first outing, it was just a shame I faced a wall of Terminator armies on the second day. I learnt a lot about the army and how to tackle some of the rarer armies from the Garrison (Tau &, Daemons) and had some really enjoyable games over the weekend.
Next up is Summer Solstice at the end of July, it’s 2000 points but by then I may have converted the Skull Reapers to run the Black Templar codex and be using a Terminator line similar to Gaz’s army in game 4.

Monday, 14 May 2012

War of the Roses - Day 1

This weekend was the first (of possibly the annual) War of the Roses tournament. It was run by the English ETC team. There was a field of 60 players present but some noticeable absences from the armies. No Dark Eldar, no Chaos Space Marines and no Sisters of Battle. Grey Knights, Space Wolves and Necrons made up over half of the entrants. It is a little saddening that the spread of armies at tournaments seems to have dropped off, but given I’d decided to take my new Space Wolves instead of my usual Tyranids I can’t get on my high horse too much. For ease of space my army list can be found here

Game 1 vs. Tom Pickwell [Tau]. Primary: Kill Points, Secondary: 3 Objectives, Dawn of War deployment

Tom’s Tau wasn’t the cookie cutter standard of most tournament Tau armies. It only feature 6 Crisis Suits (HQ and 2 retinue and 3 solo suits) and a pair of Broadsides. The spare points had been used to but up two Hammerhead tanks and a unit of fire warriors in a devilfish. There were the usual large units of Kroot, but these featured Kroot hounds too. I got to go first and parked two empty rhinos 7” onto the board waiting for their Grey Hunter cargo. Tom opted to walk on his tanks and suits, except the solo suits which went into deepstrike reserve and the Kroot which outflanked. First turn my whole army rolled on, with no one available to fire at the drivers put the pedals to the metal and shot forward. The Longs fangs leapt from their Razorback and ran into firing position, whilst all the tanks blew their smoke launchers in preparation of the incoming railgun, and missile pod fire that would rain in from the Tau. As expected the Tau rolled on and opened fire. Black Sun filters allowing them to double their night fight rolls meant they shouldn’t have an issue with the darkness. I say shouldn’t …. that wasn’t the case. Their fire was largely ineffective with a couple of units failing to see and my smoke launchers providing just the right amount of cover.  Having said that my return fire in turn 2 wasn’t that successful either, I did manage to stun both Hammerhead and immobilise a piranha, but didn’t manage to destroy anything. 

For his turn 2 two of solo suits landed as well as one of the Kroot packs coming in on my left flank. Tom’s firing wasn’t too successful, the ETC rules were we using give all vehicles a 5+ save if the LOS crosses a wood, rather than being based on true LOS and the tree models present. I assume this is so they can produce some fairly simple area terrain for the 100s of boards they must have to populate. I lost a couple of my tanks to close range melta from the deepstriking Crisis Suits but largely was unaffected.  

Turn three had a couple of key points, firstly my Grey Hunters in Rhinos and running Lone Wolves we getting within charge range of the Tau lines, and we all know how good Tau are in close combat. Secondly I remembered how poor Tau initiative is, time for a little jaws action. The first salvo of jaws took out a Broadside and the Etheral hiding at the back of board, sadly the Tau didn’t turn and run at the disappearance of their spiritual leader. The Kroot pack took several frag missiles to the face as well as rapid firing bolters and were mauled. One of the Lone Wolves destroyed the immobilized piranha whilst Grey Hunters pulled down a crisis suit. The Tau were very much on the  ropes at this point, they hadn’t managed to make a significant dent in the Wolves firepower and were now facing Grey Hunter in CC. Plus the Rune Priest was causing mayhem now he was within jaws range. They responded by firing at the Rune Priest and squad, who were luckily in cover. Of the 9 man squad only two survived, the Rune Priest and Wolf standard bearer, but in retaliation for the death of his pack mates the Rune Priest cast the Tau commander and one of his Bodyguard down into the earth. Firepower from Long Fangs and a Razorback completely wiped out his left flank and all attention turned to the other side of the board.  The hammerheads were finally cracked open by Las Cannon and Missile and Kroot continued to face bolter and chainswords. In the end the game ended I turn 5 with the loss of almost the entire Tau army. A small fire warrior team were hiding behind their wrecked devilfish from the Grey Hunter s that were stalking them and a lone crisis suit hid amoungst the one remaining  Kroot pack. I’d secure both primary and secondary and had a good lead on VPs

Result WIN: 17 - 3

Game 2 vs. Andy Oakham [Daemons]. Primary: Cleanse, Secondary: Kill Points, Pitched Battle deployment

Chatting to Andy during and after the game it turns out that normally Space Wolves aren’t a good match for Daemons. They’re not terrible but they’re not an  ideal one, so I clearly didn’t play this well. Winning the roll off I chose to go second to ensure I didn’t lose a turn to an empty board. This was apparently mistake #1. Take first turn, drive all your vehicles forward, forcing the daemons to land further away from your gun line. Then in turn two simply slam them in reverse and open a large gap between the forces the Daemons have to foot slog across. It massively slows the Bloodcrushers down and gives you more chance to shoot them. I didn’t and as a result only had one turn of firing before they charged. 

Mistake #2 was forgetting that Lone Wolves are fearless, In my turn 2 I charged the Bloodcrusher unit that had landed after inflicting only a handful of wounds with all my fire, but I lost combat and fled. Had I remembered my Lone Wolf would likely have survived the combat resolution wounds (2+ save and then feel no pain) and kept the Bloodcrushers locked in combat for their turn allowing me another of firing at them. Mistake #3 was not casting Jaws at Fateweaver every turn. He’s only got a 1 in 6 chance of failing the test, but my previous use of Abaddon should have reminded me how often they come up when  rolled. Fateweaver is a fairly major linchpin to the army. In later turns when the Daemons were a little more spread out I was noticing how much easier they were going down to fire. 

My dice rolls weren’t helping as a number of units that were failing moral tests and breaking off the board from the initial Bloodcrusher multi-charge wasn’t helping either. Having said that a small separate force on a hill away from the main battle line did hold out for a little longer, managing to to take wounds off the Bloodthirster as well as half destroying his fiends for some much needed VP. Other units scattered to the 4 corners, determined not to be tabled, however the game just kept on going. In the end it lasted the full 7 turns and the only survivors were 5 Grey Hunters we had fled to the opposite corner in their Razorback.  It was a crushing defeat, but I did learn some new tactics to try to use against a future Daemon army and Andy was a pleasant opponent as he butchered my army so no real complaints from me (except for my own stupidity of not knowing my own codex).

Result LOSS 1 - 19

Game 3 vs. Bennett Morley [Space Wolves]. Primary: Capture and Control, Secondary: Seize Ground, Dawn of War deployment

I’d travelled down from York with Bennett to the tournament so it was a little funny we ended up playing each other. Yeah we could have had a word with the organisers and swapped but to be honest I don’t see the point. I’ve only played Bennett twice with my Wolves so it’s not like we’ve faced each other lots. Going into the match the record stood at one winning draw (around a 12 – 8 split) each, so it was all to play for.  You can find Bennett’s blog here, he may post his army list.

I won the roll off and opted to go first. I repeated my deployment tactic I’d used on our last friendly game, ironically the night before. Long line, Razorbacks on the edges with the plan to collapse in from which ever flank Bennett chose to attach down to maximise the number of rounds it took to get his numerically superior Grey Hunters  into my squads. He’d fallen into the trap once would he do so again or would he attack up the centre to prevent the retreat?  The answer was he had kind of learnt. He still attacked up a flank but more towards the centre, effectively attacking up a line two foot in from the board edge rather than the six inch line he’d used the night before. He also turbo boosted his Lord on bike up the board edge to threaten and assault on turn two. 

For my firing in turn two we unloaded onto a unit of Long Fangs in a ruin killing four of the six, we also popped one rhino, immobilised another and shock a Razorback. Would Bennett string his transports out to maintain the momentum of his thrust, risking his forces arriving piece meal into my waiting line, or would he slow to allow the other units to keep up and risk never getting there? The Wolf Lord charged a unit of Long Fangs, but no before suffering a wound to dangerous terrain. Bennett’s remain army surged forward as fast as possible, stringing out a little in the process. As a result we were able to deal with units as they tried to cross the patch of open ground infront of the gun line. The Lord was however running amok in my line, but luckily for me couldn’t ride his bike for toffee. Having already lost a wound to a tree, a small brick wall was his next victim loosing another wound there, finally a Razorback manage to unload on him to kill him, but he had managed to account for a Long Fang Pack and my deckchair unit hold my own objective.  Bennett’s push down one flank had meant though that because both objective relating to the secondary objective we on the opposite side of the board my force had secured them with relative ease.  The fight over the primary objectives however was fierce, with his lord and two grey hunter packs assaulting mine, whilst my Rune Priest and 2 squads went for his. However in both cases the presence of the deferdner fire support won the day and both attacking force were crushed. In the end it was a draw on Primary, I’d secured Secondary and it was a draw on VPs too

Result: DRAW 12 - 8

An  average day 1, one win, one draw, one loss, we'd have to see what day 2 brought

Thursday, 10 May 2012

War of the Roses - First Round draw

So the first round draw is up for War of the Roses, I'm playing Tom Pickwell, who based on rankings HQ would appear to play Space Wolves too, so it's a mirror match. It's a primary Annhilation which I think is a good thing. Hopefully he'll have a large number of KPs which will allow me to stand a good chance.

The army I'm taking is ;-
Rune Priest - Jaws of the World Wolf, Living Lightning
5 Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Razorback with Las/Plas
5 Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Razorback with Las/Plas
5 Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Rhino dozer blade
6 Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Wolf Standard, Rhino dozer blade
5 Grey Hunters - Flamer
6 Long Fangs - 5 Missile Launchers, Razorback with Las/Plas
6 Long Fangs - 3 Missile Launchers, 2 Lascannon, Razorback with Las/Plas
5 Long Fangs - 4 Missile Launchers, Razorback with Las/Plas
Lone Wolf in Terminator Armour - Chainfirst, Stormshield
Lone Wolf in Terminator Armour - Chainfirst, Stormshield
Wolf Guard - 1 in Power Armour with Power Fists, Combi-Melta
                   3 in Power Armour with Combimeltas,
                   1 in Terminator armour  with Cyclone Missile Launcher, Powerfist
Land Speeder Typhoon with Heavy Flamer

I'm not wanting to face too many AV14 or 2+ saves. Not sure how well this will fair against the Necrons, I'm hoping I'll pop the Annhilation Barges first turn, it will then come down to killing Scarabs and Wraiths before they close.