Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sample Size : One

Fly back after actually playing game. A REAL GAME! Wahoooooooooooooo!

Well, in follow up to my recent jury-duty-list-building-post, I fielded something similar to it against my good buddy Jesse.

Chaos Nurgle on a Bike all tooled up
Chaos Sorcerer on a Bike all tooled up
3 Nurgle Bikes with Melta
5 Nurgle Spawn
Maulerfiend with Lashers x 3
Plague Marines in a Rhino
Overlord with a Scythe and 2+
Warriors x 5 in Scythes x 2

You will note that I went with allying in Necrons for scoring help instead of relying on Plague Marines in Rhinos. I think that variant could work, but warriors in scythes are just so dang good.

Jesse ran White Scars with Tau Allies:

Chapter Master tooled up on a Bike with Blade and Shield
Inquisitor lvl 1 with Skulls
Thunderfire x 2
Stormtalon x 2
3 Squads of 5 Bikes
Commander Helpful
Land Speed Storm with Scouts

Interesting list he's been working on. He usually starts his Commander Helpful, Chapter Master and Riptide all together in a squad, using the bonuses from the Tau Commander to let the Chapter Master's Bombardment be twin-linked/ignore cover, along with that 9/2 large blast from the Riptide do the same. Oh and the bazillion missiles too. Pretty nasty looking alpha strike.

We rolled our pre-game stuff, and we were playing 5 objectives out of the rule book, in the Hammer and Anvil deployment. I won the roll to place and deploy first. I put on objective at my rear table edge, then the other two near the center of the board. I planned on occupying the space at the end of the game.
As for powers, I got Iron Arm, Endurance and Smite, which wasn't too shabby. I was hoping for Enfeeble to take down those Bikes easier, but you can't win em all. My Warlord Trait was Hatred and Jesse's was something unremarkable. My gifts were +1 wound for the Sorcerer and Shrouded on my Lord! He would go great with the Spawn, letting them actually have a save.
Jesse's only power was Prescience on his inquisitor.

Pre-game thoughts:
Yikes. Hammer and Anvil against a list with some devastating fire power. There will be a ton of ground to cover before I can let my assault units do their work. I hope they are alive to do it.
The plan will be to let my Shrouded help out the Spawn, along with some sorcerer love in the form of endurance. Spawn with 3W T6 5+ cover and 5+ FNP are nothing to sneeze at. The Bikes would roll with the Iron Armed Sorcerer, relying on the turbo-boosted 4+ Jink. The Maulerfiends would be spaced out on my deployment-line, ready to bound forward. I measured their spacing out with a large blast, ensuring that I couldn't lose two in the alpha-strike from the Commander squad.
The Rhino would hide out of LOS, preparing to flat-out behind the advancing assault units. The rest would be in reserve, ready to score some objectives and/or burninate everything around. Jesse's deployment would involve him backing up nearly everything to his back table edge to maximize distance that I must travel to get to him. His bikes occupied one flank, while his command squad occupied the other.

He fails to seize.

Top of 1:
I roll my Iron Arm and Endurance and would do so every turn, thanks to my Spell Familiar. Everyone predictably leaps forward, the Maulers going 12", the Rhino going 12". the bikes going 12" and the Spawn going 12".  Oooooh, just like I imagined it. During the shooting phase, fleet let me get 6's for my run with all three of the Maulers. The Sorcerer and Bikes Turboboosted up, getting within spitting distance of the Thunderfires. The Spawn ran 2" and the Rhino flat-outted. This all appeared startingly speedy.

Bottom of 1:
And then this happened. Boom. Prescience fails on a Thunderfire but, no worries, the alpha-strike from Terra lands on my Sorcerer's squad, clipping a Maulerfiend. St10, AP1 made short work of the fiend, exploding him in a shower of sparks, despite his deamonic save. The bikes, relying on 3+/4+ received no help either, as his shots ignored cover. The only saving grace here was the sorcerer's invulnerable save with Iron Arm, allowing him to live with two wounds left, surrounded by a crater of gore. The bikes also lurched forward, pumping melta and grav shots into the closest Mauler. Luckily, no damage was done. The Thunderfires dropped 8 little pie-plates on my Spawn, causing all sorts of wounds and knocking down two... I was beginning to worry.

Top of 2:
This would be a critical turn for me. My assault units took a beating from shooting and I am going to need some heroic charges to get stuck in. Otherwise, I'm going to be caught holding my dick. And we all know getting caught holding your dick is no fun.
I roll for reserves and my two Scythes come on the board, flying up the top flank. My cultists and Heldrake decide to roll ones and hang around somewhere near the edge of the table. Again, everything lurched forwards, my top remaining Maulerfiend easily in charge range of a bike squad and the spawn an inch away from another bike squad. The Sorcerer drove forward towards the Thunderfires, needing an 11" charge to get in. The bottom Fiend would need 10" to get in the command squad.
I actually shot a few guns, letting loose with a million Tesla shots at the third bike squad, causing many wounds but Jesse made a good number of saves, killing 2. My Sorcerer was DENIED with his Smite by the Inquisitor... time to charge.... Only those two dead bikes caused a morale check first and running away with 3 dice bumped them off of the board. Woo!
My Sorcerer failed his. Ho hum. But!
My top Fiend and Spawn weren't phased by overwatch fire and made their assaults. Lastly, my bottom Maulerfiend rolled a 10" on his reroll for fleet and made long charge! Woo!
Combat involved my Lord and Spawn killed 3 of the 5 Bikers but rolled "Unworthy Offering," and took no damage in return. The Maulerfiend dropped 3 bikes also and wasn't hurt in return. One wounded bike squad 'hit and ran' right out of combat towards mid-field. The other one failed morale and broke towards the board edge.
The bottom combat was what I was looking forward to. My 135 points Maulerfiend seemed to be in a good spot, even when against this expensive 600pt + unit. Jesse's Chapter Master would have two less attacks, bringing him from a scary four attacks to a less-scary two. Those two attacks would be hitting on 3's and glancing on 5's, penning on 6's. Additionally, I would have my Daemon save. Alas, two hits were rolled and following the "6" after, we were rolling on the damage chart. A "4" became a "5" and I was immobilized... unless I passed my Daemon save... which I didn't.
It was a mad dash to see what even happened to immobilized walkers in combat (when have you last had that happen?). Turns out, sucks to be a walker immobilized in combat, you are hit on rear armor now. My attacks back we blocked by the shield eternal and I was smashed by the Riptide and Commander Helpful, right through my rear armor '10', and the Maulerfiend was no more.
This. Was. Turning. Out. Badly.

Bottom of 2:
Yikes. Two Storm Talons come on and things are about to get ugly. They soar and end directly in front of each of the Night Scythes. His Chapter Master breaks off and ends his move one inch from my Sorcerer. His two Bikes that sling shotted past me with their hit and run continue to move towards my back board edge,... things are looking grimmer.
Shooting actually isn't that bad though and heralded a change in the game.
The Talons opened up on the Scythes and I pre-jinked, preparing to get hammered with a million penetrating hits. Alas, each of my flying pastries took a penetrating hit, neither of which caused me any problems. Locked Velocity isn't a problem. It is a horrible "immobilized" result that doesn't really do, uh, anything. After all was said and done, my Scythes were still going to be shooting next turn. The Thunderfires did, again, a few wounds on some Spawn. The Riptide tried to explode a Maulerfiend, but failed to penetrate with his three shots... I was weathering the storm. His other remaining bikes tried to Grav-gun immobilize my Maulerfiend and failed...
So, in assault phase, it was super Chapter Master against my Iron Armed Sorcerer. Luckily, I took a Force Axe, so at least he'd have to use that dang shield. In combat, we slap-fought a wound onto each other and tied combat. Jesse chose not to hit-and-run out of combat.

Top of 3:
Things started to look up. My Scythes lived. My Mauler was up and running at full health. My Spawn lived but were weak, my Lord was at full health and everyone was free save the Sorcerer and he was holding his own. I rolled for reserves and my Drake and Cultists decided to bide their time, much to my chagrin. I dropped off my Lord and a squad of Warriors onto a near by objective.
I Iron Armed again, but not for very much, +1/+1 I believe. Something needed to be done here. You guys may not know what a heroic intervention is or maybe you do. Either way, I wouldn't be doing that. I'd be doing an evil one. I cast Endurance on my Spawn unit and planned on breaking off my big ugly Chaos Lord to come over and deal with Mr. Glowy-Sword. It would be epic.
In shooting, my snap shooting Tesla shot better than my regular Tesla and I wiped out a weak bike squad and put two wounds on Commander Helper. In assault, things started to break down for the good guys.
The Spawn made it in against a techmarine and cannon. The Maulerfiend made it in against the other cannon, techmarine and Inquisitor. And the Lord made the charge and got into the challenge with the White Scars Warlord. An epic battle would ensue.
The other two combats went just as expected, Spawn lashing about killing the Techmarine and the Maulerfiend stomping about gibbing the other Techmarine and Inquisitor. The other combat was going to be the fun one.
A Hatred having T6 3+/4+ Powerfist/Powerclaw wielding fearless death-machine pairs up not so badly against a T5 2+/3+ S7 Blind ATSKNF Eternal Warrior death-machine. When all was said and done, I managed to land 1 wound and so had the Master. Things were looking good after that drawn combat and Jesse chose to stay stuck in again instead of hit-and-running out.

Bottom of 3:
Jesse's backfield was wrecked. He had two bikes left running around towards my backfield, his command units and Storm Talons, while his Land Speeder Storm and Kroot both came on. His Kroot outflanked near my Warriors while the Storm Deep Struck near my table edge, to meet up with his Bikes.
This would be an all or nothing turn for Jesse. My Maulerfiend was in striking distance of everything in his deployment zone and it would easily smash those Kroot if it were to live another turn, preventing Jesse from scoring any objectives near the center AND on his side of the board. As shooting commenced, the dice went cold on Jesse, causing a single glancing hull point on the Fiend, from combined shooting from the Riptide, Kroot sniper rounds and both Storm Talons...
Things were looking grim for the good guys now.
In combat, things were a draw again, a single wound on each the Chaos Lord and the Chapter Master.

Top of 4:
Heldrake and Cultists came on.
And this is why the Heldrake is over-powered. No matter what Jesse did, he was losing some major stuff this round just to that flying jerk. Vector strike ignores cover for basically no reason. I landed maximum hits on his Land Speeder as I vector struck it, easily exploding it and taking two scouts down in the explosion. After, the Heldrake flamed his two remaining bikes while declaring my Helforge, scoring that final wound. There is just no good reason to have such a powerful unit in the book.
Considering those points, I still use one and am happy to. Jesse hates it.
My Cultists stood around the remaining scouts, eager to unload some auto-pistols into loyalist faces. So after that little fiasco, Jesse was left with just the Kroot to score...
Knowing that, my Maulerfiend ended his movement 1" in front of the Kroot... and the game was over.
Jesse conceded the game at this point. He was aware of the lack of scoring on the table and realized I hadn't lost any.

Results: Victory for Chaos/Necrons!

I titled this one Sample Size: One. This is only one game. And one game against a newer list. The good news is that the list was played by a super competent player.
The bad news is that is just one game.
Just one game.

Things I learned:
Heldrake is great but I still think ONE is the way to roll. I can't leave Spawn or Bikes at home, they are needed to make the assault threat a credible one.
Chaos is great in assault.
Chaos is FAST.
Night Scythes with Warriors are incredible (this I didn't learn, I knew but was confirmed).

Things Jesse noted to me:
He noted I 'played a good game' and didn't make many mistakes. That was a huge compliment and left me feeling like a champion.
He also noted that he felt Hammer and Anvil actually hurt him and I agree. Being pinned in the back was a major problem as a central assault threat left him no where to run. If we had played Dawn of War, he could have exercised the flanks much more readily.
He forgot to deploy his single Broadside >.< Doh! I imagine that those extra ST7 shots could have helped take out that last Mauler.

Thanks for reading!

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