Sunday, 11 January 2015

The One With the Surprise Game

A couple of weekends ago I met up with my Apocalypse ally, Nick, for him to become my next enemy... Strictly in a friendly match... Yeah...

The match was 2000 points between my Chaos Space Marines (oh yes, no Daemon allies this time) and Nick's Necrons which was the very first time I've ever played against them. Having never really paid much attention to their codex I didn't really know anything about them which meant the entire game was a 5 turn learning experience for me. I can very confidently say that they are an army I'll take more notice of when their new codex hits.

I took a new and highly experimental approach with my list and used a lot of units I've never used before as well as only having one Psyker which was new for me though it meant my Psychic phase was over pretty fast for once. My list consisted of:

Chaos Space Marines

2 Units of 10x Chaos Cultists (one unit with a Flamer and one with a Heavy Stubber)
10x Chaos Space Marines (Champion with Melta Bombs and unit had a Flamer)

5x Terminators with a Land Raider with a Dirge Caster
Helbrute with a Power Scourge and a twin linked Lascannon
5x Plague Marines (champion with Melta Bombs)

Fast Attack

Heavy Support
5x Havocs with 2x Lascannons, 1x Meltagun and 1x Missile Launcher and the champion had Melta bombs

Lord on a Command Barge

2x units of 20x Warriors
10x Immortals in a Night Scythe

Triarch Stalker
3x Wraith

Fast Attack
10x Scarab Bases

Heavy Support
Annihilation Barge
2x Monolith

I'd like to say I had a plan for the list but I really didn't as I had no idea how half of these units would work in play. I played the Cultists and the Helbrute as the Helcult from the Helbrute dataslate and ran Abaddon with the Terminators.

I played it safely (or so I thought) with my deployment by making sure as much of my army was in cover or had access to cover in the first movement phase and deployed my Havocs around my objective as I knew they wouldn't be moving anywhere. This was where I made my first mistake but more on that later. I deployed Abaddon and the Terminators in the Land Raider with my CSM running behind to use the tank for cover, ran my Maulerfiend and Plague Marines in the middle and my Helbrute and Cultists on the left behind a barricade. Unfortunately I didn't deploy my Maulerfiend close enough to the 12" line or I'd have had a turn 1 charge which probably would have changed the game as it would have been against a Monolith. As it was though I couldn't quite make the charge so there my Maulerfiend was... All exposed...

The Helcult advanced to the barricade ahead of them... And that's where they stayed. The position of the buildings created a corridor that only allowed a few Cultists through at a time so while my Helbrute got off a few shots from his Lascannon the Cultists were being slowly shot apart so that my next movement phase consisted of just lining up more cans on the wall to take a bullet. With this unit it was so large that keeping it in cover actually worked against me and is something I'll have to remember in future.

Going back to my Maulerfiend and the way I deployed it I actually made myself miss out on a turn one charge into a Monolith by deploying safely. My opponent has a tendency to deploy right at the limit of his deployment zone and we were playing on the wide table edges. I unfortunately deployed my Maulerfiend a little further back so he was in cover but if I had put him right at the edge of my deployment zone then after the movement phase I would have been within charge range! Would have had to have rolled pretty well for it but in the first two turns I was rolling a hell of a lot of 6's so I probably would have made it! As it happened I made it about half way up the board and ended up going three rounds with the Scarabs and their mental attack that reduced his armour value slowly but surely until eventually they tapped him and he turned to dust though it was a close call. It came right down to whether I could roll well enough to finish off enough Scarabs to last another turn but alas Tzeentch had gotten bored and left me so my dice rolling went from freakin' awesome to downright dreadful and my Maulerfiend got dusted.

There were a couple of times that I could have gotten Be'lakor into come combat but I chose to keep him safe by flying him around casting invisibility whenever possible. In my first psychic phase I tried to be greedy and cast several powers and ended up not getting any of them off so in my second I changed tactics and threw way more dice than necessary at invisibility on my Maulerfiend to protect it which worked. I did also manage to throw a few dice at some other powers too so Be'lakor owned the psychic phase! I should probably mention that he was the only psyker on the board so even if he'd never used a psychic power in the entire game he would have owned the psychic phase. I do wish I'd gotten him into a combat situation at least once so that I know what he's capable of but from a defensive viewpoint keeping him mobile is definitely a good strategy.

The many lascannons I had peppered throughout my army I made the mistake of dedicating to the Monoliths as I fell into the trap of "big=bad" and largely ignored everything else which was a huge mistake and I knew it as soon as I did it but I did it anyway. In the first round of shooting I knocked two hull points off of one of them and was determined to finish it off in the next. Unfortunately I only managed to take another one point from it before my Havocs were charged by the Wraith (which is what I should have been focusing on), my Land Raider was popped and my Helbrute took a glance and had to fire at the barge that glanced him. Although I had done a fair amount of damage to one Monolith it was at the cost of letting everything else in Nick's army run freely into mine.

My Heldrake didn't really get to do much; by the time it had made it's minimum move and done a vector strike on something the Baleflamer had no targets and the one thing in Nick's army it would have torn to shreds with a single blast (the Scarabs) was already in combat so couldn't be shot at anyway! Next time I play against Scarabs I'll be committing the Heldrake to them first and instead of aiming to vector strike I'll count that as a bonus and aim to fire off the Baleflamer instead. In my defence though I didn't know what they could actually do with their armour value reducing ability. I also could have unloaded the Havocs into them for extra killing fun. Especially as they had a blast weapon which would have done lots and lots of damage to them.

This battle wasn't really all that great for Abaddon either as his retinue got wiped out pretty quickly and he only got into combat with a Monolith that he didn't pop. Instead he got sucked into it which certainly wasn't good! He managed to knock off a hull point though so... No it was still a terrible match for Abaddon and I certainly won't be trying that again in a hurry! At least not without more vehicle damaging equipment at any rate.

Another deployment mistake I made was with my unit of 10 Chaos Space Marines. I put them behind the Land Raider for mobile cover which was a good strategy I think but just not for this game. I realised far too late that they would have been better serving as a buffer between the Havocs and the Wraith that eventually sliced them apart. As it was my big guns got tied up in combat and by the time the CSM unit had reached them to help the Havocs were dead and the CSM ended up getting charged and butchered instead of the other way around. They also would have gotten in more overwatch shots than the Havocs did with rapid fire though it didn't help much when I finally did get to use it (stupid 3++).

Finally I'll come to what I think was my unit of the match and that was the Plague Marines. I have 5 of the plastic ones that I had in the late 90's (they're in desperate need of repairs and the paint job shows just how young I was!!!) and I included them as a test really as I've never played Plague Marines before. Wow. That's all I can say. I probably could have utilised them better than I did but I'll put that down to a lack of experience; for example I didn't run them to the main objective in turn one (though they could easily have reached it) because I thought they had slow and purposeful but noticed in turn two that they don't have that rule. As a consequence of this they took a lot of fire when they finally did get to where I wanted them. I'm sure if I'd explained to Nick what I'd done he would have let me make the run move (he's good like that) but if I don't make mistakes I won't learn so I took the hit on that. They survived a Monolith attack, a Triarch Stalker attack and were finally taken down two turns later by 20 warriors but it was down to my bad rolling that they didn't survive even longer. If I'd made the run move to the relic objective I could have had them retreat with it towards my Havocs who were holed up in a ruin towards the back and been able to hold onto it.

I may have lost quite badly (almost as badly as I did against Nigel and his Corsair list a few months back!!) but I definitely learned a lot about my units and what it is they're capable of. The next game I play will be a far more aggressive one in terms of units and in terms of strategy as I'm going for a Khorne/Nurgle list which should make for some interesting combinations... I've already made a couple of lists for the next game but I'm not quite happy with them just yet so they'll undergo some changes when I have a spare five minutes during the week (HA!!). As I quite liked the way some of these units worked I'm keeping them in but some things are changing so I can experiment with more units. I'll keep you posted about the next battle and I'll take some pictures next time!!!

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