Saturday, October 23, 2010

Conclusion: Thursday Throw Down! 10/22/10

When Six-Deucer and I arrived at Olympic Cards and Comics (OCC) for our 1500 point Thursday Throw-Down, we were treated to an unexpected surprise that Chappy had laboriously prepared for the both of us! Using the awesome tables and terrain available at OCC (thanks Gabby!), Chappy had created a table with lots of difficult and dangerous terrain. He had painstakingly populated the table terrain in such a way that neither side held any real advantage over the other.

I was a little curious as to how my army would move and perform in a cover-rich/obstacle heavy environment- my assault squads could maximize the potential cover available, but my tanks and transports would have to duck and weave in order to clear the distance to Six's force(s).

Warning: My Blood Angels models are not completely assembled, nor are they painted. If that breaks your heart (or your eyes), you may want to stop reading here. I'm working to complete and paint them as fast as I can.

Six and I had agreed last week that the first game we were going to play would be the one scenario type that we had yet to experience: Seize Ground. Based on that fact, and the knowledge I had acquired due to last week's games, I had created a troop heavy list that I hoped would give me an edge in this scenario. Now, here is where Six and I differed. Six created a list to test new units' and unit combinations'. My list had a slight competitive edge due to his force choices, however I knew that Six's ability to tailor and apply tactics to suit his strategy could more than make up for any potential or perceived deficit in his list- Six competes to win, regardless of the odds set before him. Following is my list (Note that I had failed to properly decrease the number of troops in each assault squad, and subsequently failed to catch that discrepancy before our throw-down). So, although I fielded each assault squad as a five man unit, I had actually paid for three six-man assault squads in my force list!

1500 Blood Angels List:
  • HQ: (1) Librarian w/ Shield of Sanguinius (SoS), and Blood Lance (BL)
  • HQ: (1) Honor Guard with Sanguiniary Novitiate, one marine with melta gun and power fist, one marine with melta gun, and one marine equipped with a flamer. Rhino transport.
  • Elite: (2) Sanguinary Priests each equipped with (1) lightning claw, and (1) combi-melta
  • Troop(s): (3) five-man assault squads, each with one marine equipped with a melta gun, and a sergeant equipped with hand flamer, and power fist. Each squad purchased a Rhino transport in exchange for jump packs. 
  • Fast Attack: (2) Baal Predators with Twin-Linked Assault Cannons (TL-AssCan)..."opening a can of ass".
  • Heavy Support: (2) Predator(s), each with a Auto Cannon (AC) turret and Las Cannon (LC) sponsons.
Six's list comprised of two Vendettas', each with a veteran squad (verification needed), a psyker battle squad (I hate these guys), a Primaris Psyker a Chimera, two Medusas' (verification needed), an Inquisitor Lord and retinue (you bet the lord has a psychic hood!), with a Land Raider transport and last but not least an assassin! If I forgot anything let me know, Six.

So, I ditched Razorback transports due to their higher point cost (when fitted with a weapon), and their lack of a firing point in favor of Rhinos (mobile weapons platforms) which would allow my squads' to shoot their melta guns or flamer pistols with relative impunity from weapons and weapon effects that potentially deny my marines cover or armor saves. My Baal Predators, each armed with a TL AssCan, would prove to be useful against Six's infantry unit(s) with enough teeth to sink into his lightly armored meq. My Predator tanks, armed with lascannon sponsons,would provide an adequate solution to anything with an Armor Value (AV) over 12...and let me tell you, imagine my surprise when Six dropped a Land Raider on the table (proxied by a Forge World Macharius Vulcan chassis). I was really excited to test the Honor Guard unit, and I gave them their own Rhino transport, two melta guns' and a flamer. A list I had hoped would prove to be very fast and agile- getting my troops to their target destination, where my assault squads could ply their deadly trade. I had every intention of closing the distance to Six's forces as early as possible, this time around. Just to be clear, my first mistake of the night occurred when I failed to decrement my assault squads in Army Builder before saving this particular list, shorting myself three assault marines (or 54 points).

Jim Morrison has nothing on THAT Rhino.
Circled in red are the four objectives Six and I would battle for. Perhaps they represented some lost Terran technology, or long lost holy text from the Emperor himself...or maybe even four latte stands- who knows!
After Six and I determined our deployment type (Dawn of War), we rolled off for first turn and I won! Six and I then determined how many objective markers were available to us for this game (4). After placing those markers, I chose my table edge and began setting up my forces. I decided to bring everything in first turn. I grouped my Predators' and my Baal Predators' separately, near the center of my table edge. Then I placed a Rhino behind each of the four AV13 tanks. My Honor Guard flanked an Assault Squad to my left, while my Librarian HQ joined an Assault Squad on my right. The two remaining Assault Squads each received a Sanguiniary Priest.

Six set up his two Medusa tanks on his left table edge behind a nice big piece of impassable terrain, while his Chimera and Land Raider held his right table edge. Six placed both of his Vendettas in reserve, with the intention to outflank both.
 As you can see, I scout-moved my Baal Predators toward Six's Medusa line.

Turn One:

My Baal Predators ripped through alien flora and fauna as they rushed to bring their TL AssCans into range of the two Medusa tanks that would prove a dire threat to the rest of the Blood Angel detachment. I swear I heard "Flight of the Valkyries" play as my Baal Predators pushed forward.
For the record, my Baal Preds were NOT equipped with heavy flamer sponsons- I made sure Six was aware of this and never used or attempted to use them in this game, or subsequent games (my second mistake of the night being that I attached the weapons in the first place).
While my Baal Predators pushed towards the left flank of Six's forces, the two Rhinos that began the game behind those Baal Preds pushed, flat out, into a 13 inch area separating the two objective marker(s) placed on my side of the table, and popped smoke to complete their turn.
Two of my Rhino transports (one carrying my Librarian HQ) parked in the location occupied by my Baal Predators in the above picture taken during my scout move.
On my left flank, two of my Rhino transports pushed flat out in an attempt to close the distance to Six's Land Raider- there it loomed amidst the ruins of an old Administratum building, long abandoned to time and the elements. Both Rhino transports popped smoke at the end of their movement phase in the vain hope that whatever violence the Land Raider might commit against them, the Emperor would protect! In the mean time, both my Predator tanks pushed toward Six's Land Raider as well- at a marginal speed to allow the firing of their Las Cannon sponsons. Even such a mighty weapon as the Las Cannon is a gamble when pointing it at a Land Raider!
May the Emperor Protect! Look brothers, a latte stand in sight! Of course no one noticed the Chimera hiding in the corner...
In my shooting phase, my Predator tanks fired lascannons' harmlessly at Six's Land Raider to no avail. My Baal Predators on the other hand proved much more productive, twin-linked assault cannons spitting powerful rounds of munition at Six's Medusa tanks! Rending shots were rolled, which led to shaken results for both Medusa tanks, and an immobilized result for the Medusa on the left. Careful boys- don't look into the eyes of Medusa! This concluded turn one for me, since I didn't have any units able to assault! Now Six would have the opportunity to respond to my initial attack in kind!
At this point, Six moved his Inquisitor Lord out of the Land Raider, so that he could move his Psyker Battle Squad into the Land Raider. (under the assumption that the PBS would be able to use psychic shooting attacks from within the Land Raider. Six was not aware that the Land Raider lacked a fire point, and psychic shooting attacks were treated and resolved as normal shooting attacks (line of sight) unless otherwise stated in the codex rules. At the bottom of turn two, Six would be left deflated with that realization, because it completely negated the strategy he had hoped to employ with this combination of units). Six's Land Raider wrecked one of my Predator tanks (and stunned my Honor Guard's Rhino)- ouch! Six's Chimera may have also had a part in that carnage- I can't quite recall.

Turn Two

I began turn two by adjusting the position of my Baal Predators to better target Six's Medusas', with the hope that in my shooting phase I could destroy them, and neutralize a threat to the rest of my army spread over the battlefield.
My functioning Predator tank repositioned itself behind the wreckage that was once my other Predator tank, in order to gain cover from Six's murderous Land Raider. The functioning Rhino transport located at my left flank pushed into difficult terrain in an attempt to get within Melta distance of Six's Land Raider.
Sensing his battle brother's trepidation, my Librarian ordered the Rhino transport he occupied to move flat out towards that Land Raider, while reciting a litany to the Emperor. He ordered the remaining assault squad (led by a Sanguiniary Priest) to hold the area at all costs in his absence; scouts reported that there were two Vendettas in the area, and a sneak attack was imminent. In my shooting phase, I managed to knock out one of the Land Raider's TL Lascannon sponsons! A paltry result considering how much firepower I had dedicated to the Land Raider...
My Baal Predators managed to shake both Medusa tanks a second turn. Fortune blessed the Blood Angels, sparing them another turn of deadly ordinance from those Medusa tanks!
Six failed to successfully bring in both of his Vendettas' and his assassin- a serious boon for me. It was in this portion of turn two that Six realized he couldn't use a psychic shooting attack from within his Land Raider. I don't recall exactly what happened in Six's shooting phase- his Land Raider failed to destroy any of my vehicles, and his Chimera failed to do anything memorable. Fate is fickle, and at this point in the game I literally looked over my shoulder to make sure she wasn't behind me with a billy-club!

Turn Three

At the top of turn three I moved the Rhino located at my left, in difficult terrain closer to the objective that Six's Land Raider was positioned over. If I remember correctly, I was unable to move my Honor Guard's Rhino, nor was my Librarian's Rhino able to move. My Librarian chose to gamble, remaining in the Rhino transport in the hopes that he could summon a blood lance against the mighty Land Raider mere kilometers away from his position. Finally, the assault squad assigned to hold the two objectives located on my side of the gaming table disembarked from their transport, and dug in to cover, heeding their commander's warning. Vendettas' were closing in and would be upon them at any time! During my shooting phase, my Baal Predators managed to destroy one of the Medusa's primary weapon, while shaking the other- silent for another turn! My Librarian failed to successfully summon the Blood Lance, while the melta fire I dedicated to the Land Raider, merely tickled it' thick armor.
A Vendetta looms onto the battlefield promising swift death to It's foes!

Six successfully rolled in both of his Vendettas, and his assassin! One Vendetta outflanked on my right, while Six's second Vendetta outflanked to my left. Six chose to enter both Vendettas onto the table where the short edge meets my assigned long edge, then Six infiltrated Polymorphined his Assassin in some cover adjacent to my Predator tank.
Six moved his Land Raider toward his second objective counter, disembarking his pysker squad to effectively bubble-wrap the Land Raider.
Six then rolled in the pain train, as the Vendetta to my right successfully wrecked one of my Baal Predators, while his forces managed to immobilize my Librarian's Rhino transport.
I believe his Assassin successfully managed to shake the crew of my Predator tank, removing it's ability to fire in turn four- ouch! If I remember correctly, Six chose to ignore the Rhino carrying my honor guard in favor of shooting at the Rhino closest to his Chimera tank (and near his first objective marker). At this point I believe he managed to stun or immobilize the Rhino. 

Turn Four

In my fourth movement phase I immediately focused on getting my surviving Baal Predator into cover. It was a difficult choice (selecting to focus fire on the Medusa, rather than Six's Vendetta), however, I chose to focus my Baal Predator on Six's Medusa a fourth time. I believe this was the third mistake I made in this game. In retrospect, Six's Vendetta, filled with scoring troops, and bristling with TL LCs' posed a much bigger threat than an ordnance 1 pie-plate with 36 inch range. The Medusa's front armor matched the Vendetta's side and front armor- both equally challenging to crack. I moved my Baal Predator towards the Medusa, butting- up it's rear armor to the wreckage that was once my second Baal Predator.
Then, I attempted a desperate maneuver with the Rhino transport assigned to the assault squad that had dug in to protect the two objectives on my side of the table; I attempted to ram Six's Vendetta with it! I failed, as the agile Vendetta lazily dodged out of the way.

My Librarian had sensed a psychic disturbance emanating from within the Land Raider, and his suspicions had been validated when Six had disembarked his Psyker squad from the Land Raider in the previous turn! My Librarian ordered his assault squad out of the immobilized Rhino transport. Pointing toward the Psyker battle squad, he pronounced them "unclean mutants" and his fellow Blood Angels hollered in ascent. The din of the battlefield faded, as my Librarian and his assault squad focused solely on the mutant human psykers- they had to be put down!
"Burn the heretics'!"
I pivoted my Honor Guard's Rhino transport 180 degrees and moved six inches toward Six's second Vendetta that was threatening the rear of my left flank. I didn't have juice range, but both of the Honor Guard's meltas' were definitely within range to hit the flying threat.
In my shooting phase, my Baal Predator managed to destroy the Medusa's siege cannon- negating the threat to the rest of my troops on the field. My Librarian failed to summon a Blood Lance, again, to hurl toward the Psyker battle squad! Man, I had the worst luck with my Librarian in this game (and the subsequent game we played). My assault squad fired a melta into the throng of psykers, while the squad's sergeant engulfed the psykers' in flame using his hand flamer. My Predator, stunned in turn three, could only look on as the battle unfolded. My Honor Guard focused their melta shots at Six's second Vendetta, successfully wrecking the skimmer, and forcing his second unit of veterans to disembark!
The honor of the Blood Angels has been upheld once again!
During my assault phase, my Librarian led his assault squad in and slaughtered the remnants of Six's Psyker squad. This left them in plain sight of his Assassin!

Six moved his stranded veteran squad around a large embankment (and out of sight of my Honor Guard's dreadful gaze).
"Run to the hills; run for your life!"
 Six moved his assassin in close to my Librarian and his assault squad, the huntress had a visual of her prey, which would spell his doom! During Six's fourth turn, he moved his surviving Vendetta forward and closer to my surviving Baal Predator. In his shooting phase, Six made sure that my sole Baal Predator vanished in a ball of white fire thanks to his Vendetta's three TL LCs'! Six's assassin made mince-meat of my Librarian and his assault squad; leaving tattered remains (two space marines) in her shooting, and subsequent assault phase. Broken, those two remaining marines would end up running away from the assassin- no good cowardly dogs. Six's Chimera may have immobilized my Rhino transport sitting in the difficult terrain closest to the abandoned Administratum building.

Turn Five

At the top of turn five, my broken assault squad continued running away from the fight, while my Honor Guard's Rhino transport turned tail and moved 12 inches toward Six's Chimera. My Honor Guard then disembarked, melta guns pointed right at the Chimera. The immobilized Rhino transport, located behind the Honor Guard's current position, disgorged an assault squad that moved towards Six's assassin. Nothing short of vengeance would sate them after the violent loss of their Librarian commander!  On the other side of the battlefield, my Rhino moved into cover, successfully contesting my second objective marker closest to Six's surviving Vendetta! My Predator, once again able to move, backed up out of assault range of Six's Assassin; better to leave her for the foot-sloggers, for there was a Land Raider that needed to be put down (in all honesty, I didn't want to risk an attempted tank shock on her, giving her the opportunity to perform a successful "death or glory" on my Predator)! In my shooting phase, I believe that my Honor Guard wrecked Six's Chimera forcing his Inquisitor Lord and retinue out of the failed transport, while my Predator tank fired upon his Land Raider, immobilizing it (right on top of his second objective marker- lattes' anyone?).  (Six reminded me that he actually failed a difficult terrain test when attempting to move his Land Raider, and it became immobilized right on top of his second objective. I think that if my Predator didn't flat out miss Six's Land Raider in this phase of shooting, it may have shaken the crew...I don't recall.) My one of two surviving assault squads fired upon Six's assassin (and would later successfully best her in assault).
The bottom of turn five saw Six move his first veteran squad towards my Predator, while his surviving Vendetta disgorged his second veteran squad over the objective marker contested by my Rhino transport. Six's Inquisitor Lord assailed my Honor Guard, to no avail. His surviving Vendetta pumped TL-LC fire into my second surviving assault squad, who were hunkered down into cover. One marine succumbed to the powerful attack, but the squad, accompanied by a Sanguiniary Priest, mustered on.
The end of turn five saw my Blood Angels in control of one latte stand, while my Honor Guard and Rhino Transport contested two others. Six, on the other hand, managed to contest one latte stand with his Land Raider, while his veteran squad was in control of . His Inquisitor and retinue were not close enough to the latte stand that my Honor Guard were all that was left was to roll for a turn six- would the game continue or end? We rolled, and the game continued!

Turn Six

At the top of turn six, I took a huge risk and attempted to tank shock Six's veteran squad adjacent to his surviving Vendetta with my Rhino Transport. At the same time, I was going to attempt to ram the Vendetta with my Rhino. I failed on both accounts, and the Rhino stalled harmlessly in front of his veteran squad. Now for my fourth mistake in this game: I moved the assault squad that had successfully bested Six's assassin in turn five, toward his immobilized Land Raider.
The Honor Guard order a refreshing caffeinated drink after a long-fought battle!
The Land Raider, sitting on Six's second objective marker, was further away than the objective marker being contested by my Honor Guard- a non-scoring unit. Whoops! Had I focused on the actual game type, I would have moved (then perform a running move in the shooting phase) that squad toward my Honor Guard, and be one step closer to winning the game!
Wrong way, Corrigan, thats not Long Beach!
In my sixth shooting phase, my assault squad aimed their melta, and their Priest's combi-melta at Six's Vendetta. In my shooting phase I was unsuccessful in destroying Six's Land Raider. For some reason I didn't move my assault squad into close combat with his Land Raider, which led to my fifth and final mistake in this battle: I could have claimed that objective marker! My sergeant, equipped with a power fist, was guaranteed a hit against Six's immobilized Land Raider, and after winning the combat a consolidation move would have followed...why didn't I do it? After reading Purgatus' comments, I re-read the rules for assaulting a vehicle and confirmed I would not have earned a consolidation move if I had successfully assaulted Six's Land Raider. Being new I tend to get a lot of stuff wrong, so I really appreciate the rules' corrections (and explanations) as they come. Thanks guys! This solidifies the fact that I should have held the objective contested by my Honor Guard with this unit! I don't know! I think in the excitement of it all, I forgot that my Honor Guard unit was not a scoring unit. On the other side of the table, my priest and assault squad managed to immobilize Six's remaining Vendetta. In the bottom of our sixth turn, Six fired his Vendetta's TL LC's at my surviving assault squad. One marine was lost, but the squad did not waiver; they stayed cool and maintained control of their relative objective marker. Six's veteran squad blew up my Rhino transport, leaving a nice heaping wreckage for them to hide behind!

At the end of turn six, Six and I both controlled one objective marker. Six managed to contest a second objective with his Land Raider, while I contested a second objective with my Honor Guard. We rolled a dice to see if the game would continue into turn 7, but instead it ended in a draw!

In the future, I will not only remember which of my units are scoring units, but I will use each unit to it's peak effectiveness until the end of the game! I mean, if this game had been an actual competition, I would have screwed myself out of some important points! My tactical choices improved in comparison to my performance the week prior, however, I didn't stick to my strategy (securing as many objectives with scoring units as possible) and therefore earned a draw instead of a win. Deviating from your strategy is huge, and I will not make that mistake again! I really liked the way that this list performed: The Rhinos were highly mobile, and allowed me to utilize my melta weapons without exposing my troops. My Baal Predators did a great job at neutralizing Six's Medusas'. In fact, I scored more rending results than I had anticipated, which made me reconsider the effectiveness of the Baal Pred. I was less impressed with my Predators'; choosing the lascannon sponson in favor of the TL LC turret saves points that can be allocated elsewhere in my list, but lacking that re-roll seemed big to me. More than once, I failed to hit with those lascannons! Likewise, I didn't hit much with the authocannon turret, but perhaps that was just dumb luck? I don't expect much when targeting an AV14 vehicle such as the Land Raider, but even against AV12, it performed paltry at best. Two priests may have been over-kill for this list. I mean, had I really needed a second FC/FNP bubble, I could have utilized my Honor Guard a little more creatively, and allocated that 75 points elsewhere. Failing to proof my list also cost me 54 points, or three marines, for this game. I will make sure that my list is finalized before committing to it in the future. In the end, I learned quite a few lessons this session, and I feel much more confident with the Blood Angels in a week's time. I gave Six a run for his money- definitely something I was shooting for! I will let Six add his thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

The best part about this Thursday Throw-Down was meeting a bunch of cool guys that play 40K, including Joseph, who hung with Six and I most of the night and helped us wade through rule questions while he watched our games. Likewise, Chappy dropped in and we got to thank him personally for setting up our table. Chappy was really cool, and he invited us to his Tuesday paint sessions that he hosts, free of charge, at Olympic Cards and Comics (OCC)! In fact, Chappy actually paints for hire- if you have a commission that needs a professional paint job, check out Stiff Neck Studio! Stiff Neck Studio is owned by Wes, and Chappy is one of his painters- they're really good!  It took me a couple days to compile this blog entry because I didn't take notes or record audio notes during the actual game session. Next week, if I don't record the bat-rep outright, I'll make notes for reference so that I can kick these bat-reps out at a faster pace!

Over the course of writing this bat-rep I changed a lot of dirty diapers and lost a lot of sleep, lol! There are a few grammatical and spelling errors as a result.


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