Monday, 25 November 2013

Blog Wars 6 write up

So a couple of weekends ago I attended Blog Wars VI in the North West Gaming Centre in Stockport. Blog Wars is meant to be a less competitive event than some other tournaments and has a couple of unique rules, including the requirement to have a special character in each army. I decided to take the Skull Reapers in their drop wolf configuration which meant the following army list;-

HQ1: Ulrik the Slayer (180) [180pts]
HQ2: Rune Priest (100), Chooser of the Slain (10), Melta Bomb (5) [115pts]
HQ3: Rune Priest (100), Bolter (free), Melta Bomb (5) [100pts]
HQ4: Rune Priest (100), Melta Bomb (5) [105pts]
Troop1: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT1 [135pts]
Troop2: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT2 [135pts]
Troop3: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT3 [135pts]
Troop4: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT4 [135pts]
Troop5: 6 Grey Hunters (90), Flamer (free), TRANSPORT5 [90pts]
Elite1: 10 Wolfguard (180), 4 Combi-Melta (20), 6 Combi-Plasma (30), TRANSPORT6 [230pts]
Heavy1: 6 Long Fangs (90), 5 Missile Launchers (50), TRANSPORT7 [140pts]
Transport1: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport2: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport3: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport4: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport5: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport6: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport7: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Fortification: Aegis Defence Line (50), Quad gun (50) [100pts]

The field at Blog Wars was unusual too, there were a lot of Tyranid and Chaos players and not a huge number of the Tau and Eldar you expect to see at a tournament.

Game 1 vs. James Lamb (Grey Knights / Blood Angels)

Describing James’ army as Grey Knights is actually wrong, there were no silvery Marines in evidence on the table. What there were, were lots of damn dirty apes!!! James was using a list which featured a lot of Jheriko weapon smith acolytes and Coteaz. Sprinkle in a few Chimera, Razorbacks and a 10man death company and Librarian in a drop pod and you had his army. Those monkeys are tricksy, they can choose to fire Las Cannons, Heavy Flamers or Multi-meltas as well as rocking a 5++ save, but are pretty expensive points wise.

The game itself was in three distinct phases. With little of my army on the field (only the Long Fangs deploy) James’ first turn was largely ineffective, my initial wave of pods dropped and melta’ed two of the transports. Took off half the Death Company with combi Plasma and killed a number of Monkeys with Jaws.

Turn 2 was all about the counter attack, Monkeys leapt from the wreckage or disembarked and ran up towards the Grey Hunter packs, opening up with Heavy Flamers, reducing two of the Grey Hunter packs to single models. I mean, who give a monkey a flame thrower ?? The Death Company shot and then charged the Plasma Wolf Guard killing half their number, but taking more casualties in return.

However the third phase was the Space Wolves’, more pods landed reinforcing the weaken units and began mopping up the monkeys, now no longer inside the transports, with mass bolter fire. Ulrik butchered the Librarian, whilst the Wolf Guard traded blows with the accompanying Death Company. In the End Ulrik fell to the last Death Company marine after having killed the Librarian and the rest of his squad. Unfortunately the Marine found himself out of combat next to the sole remaining Long Fang and took a Krak missile to the face. Over the next couple of turns the bolter fire destroyed all remaining Grey Knights and only the drop pod remained to avoid me tabling James.

Game 2 vs. Peter Butler (Eldar)

Peter was playing a Eldar army that wasn’t Wave Serpent spam or Jet Seer. It included two Wave Serpents, one with Wraith Guard the other with ten Dire Avengers. There were also two Wraith Lords, two Vypers, a large unit of Guardians, three Jetbikes, Warp Spiders and all led by Phoenix Lord Asurmen.

Asurmen rolled for his three warlord traits and picked up re-rolling 1s for armour saves. With a 2+ save to begin with this made him almost immune to small arms fire. I was going first in the game and I can’t remember if it’s because I’d won the roll. If it was this was probably my first mistake. Peter elected to keep a lot in reserve including both Wave Serpents, Warp Spiders and Jet Bikes. I think one mistake I made (both in this game and the third) was to be too clever with my initial wave. I dropped the smaller flamer squad along with two of the Grey Hunter packs and the wolf guard. The plan in my head was to hold back two of the melta armed larger hunter packs for the arrival of the reserves. I think if you’re going to play a drop pod army you need to be aggressive. I should have probably landed three large hunter packs, all three Rune priests and the Wolf Guard and gone super aggressive on the units currently on the board. As it was my Wolf Guard’s combi plasma fire deleted one of the Wraith Lords but then was wiped out by the 2nd one in close combat. The Long fangs blew up both Vypers. Assurmen survived two attempts to Jaws him off the board. My first turn wasn’t too bad, but it went downhill from there.

Assurmen and the remaining Wraith Lord made it into combat with two of the Grey Hunter packs with Rune Priests. Assurmen was down to a single wound after taking a couple of hits from Melta guns, but it quickly became apparent that neither pack of Grey hunters could reasonably hurt their opponents, but because their Krak grenades might they were both locked in combats they were pretty safe to loose. The decline continue with the arrival of the reserves, the wraith guard locked a third pack of Grey Hunter, the Dire Avengers and Warp Spiders picked on the Long Fangs and Flamer squad and it was all going downhill fast.

Now I lost this game, but there was one highlight which made the game really amusing. The Rune Priest locked in combat with Assurmen and the Wraith Lord had been turning down the challenge and hiding at the back of the combat. At the bottom of Peter’s turn three both units failed their morale tests , were not swept and managed to run away from their respective opponents. They then rallied and in the same turn Assurmen and the Wraith Lord vanished down a giant crack in the ground as both rolled 6s for their defence again Jaws. It didn’t turn the game but I do claim quite the moral victory.

Game 3 vs Luke Fogg (Imperial Guard / Space Wolves)

This was a classic army, One Blob, three separate guard units, two manticores, two vendettas a Demolisher and double Rune Priest and five man Grey Hunter squad. The mission was five objectives and they’d been deployed mostly in the centre.

Luke deployed tightly in one corner using the Guardsmen to defend against my drop pods. Again with hindsight I should probably have deployed more aggressively, brought down all four bigger packs and rapid fired into the 20man blob and two of the 10 man squads. Hopefully this alpha strike would have done enough damage to soften up the guard for a charge next turn and the remaining squads landing could take on the tanks. I also mucked up the Long Fang deployment, putting them in one corner in a ruin, when Luke deployed in the opposite corner I'd lost their firepower for most of the game. I should have deployed them centrally. During the whole game I control almost ¾ of the board with Luke making little movement outside of his corner, but the blob just kept whittling down my units. Had I gone more aggressive in the first turn I possible could have killed a lot of guard before they even had a chance to fire and hopefully overwhelm his line as my reserves arrived.

As it turned out Luke won the war of attrition, taking out a lot of my Grey Hunters but never really getting any board control. In the end it was a 2 -1 loss on objectives, simply because the work horses of the army are also its troops and hence they die in the meat grinder of assault. Luke controlled the one objective in the his deployment zone and annoyingly Sly Marlo had appeared on another one and spent most of the game hiding to control it.

I love playing with the drop wolves, but are they competitive? The main issue is the use of your Troops to perform the heavy lifting.  The natural attrition hurts them. I am considering switching to the normal marine codex for my next tournament, a one day affair in Mansfield, but I'm still not sure what I'm going to take to Caledonia and ultimately Adepticon next year.