Friday, 4 May 2012

Throne of Skulls Battle Reports

Last weekend at Throne of Skulls I had a blast. Attending with my brother and my son was fun and I had 5 great games with fun opponents – and I won best Blood Angels player, which always helps! I’m not going to do blow by blow battle reports, but here’s a quick summary of how things went.

First of all my list was as posted last week – a Librarian with Shield and Rage, 3 Stormravens with extra armour, 2 Furioso Dreads, 8 Death Company with a Thunder Hammer, a Death Company Dread and one unit of assault marines with no upgrades. I posted last week that this was a silly list, and it is. Frankly I was really lucky with my match ups as you’ll see.

Game 1

Against a really cool guard army. Lots (and lots) of guardsman with lots (and lots) of stuff (lots of heavy weapons  teams!), all foot slogging and 3 Hydra’s. All the guardsmen were Ratling miniatures and had a very strong WW I theme. The centre piece of the army was a sentinel converted into a bi-plane, who my opponent called “Bigglesworth”! In fact all the minis had names (Baldrick and Captain Darling made an appearance). Anihiliation pitched battle. He had first turn.

I screwed up deployment. My options were to start on the table or keep all in reserve. My plan was always to go flat out first turn for the cover save, and then get into assault turn 2. Against an army like this, if I was going second, my plan was to start all in reserve so I could move flat out for the cover save when moving on. But I looked at the army and thought “well, I don’t get cover from the flack tanks anyway, and the missile launchers are BS3, so they’ll miss….and decided to start on the table and rely on my 5+ cover save from Shield. Wrong decision – I lost the DC Raven, another Raven, and a Furioso first turn. Hmm…….! Didn’t make a single 5+ cover save, and Bigglesworth was a marksman with his lazcannon!

So my DC Dread and his buddies in the DC were running across the board into the guard gunline. The other ‘Raven turbo boosted on my turn one into charge range for turn 2. In my opponent’s turn 2 he brought down the remaining ‘Raven, and thinned out the DC (could I make a feel no pain save….could I hell!). In the remainder of the game the DC eventually got one model into assault, and the remaining Furioso and the DC Dread did start ripping guardsmen apart, but they could only kill one of his many (many) squads per turn. That was the easy bit, but then they had to “step back” and get shoot and demo charged. Long story short… I couldn’t take enough kill points in the 5 turns of the game to even the score. When the game ended on turn 5, my opponent won by 1 KP.

It could have been worse – my opponent didn’t have any melta guns close enough to take out the Furioso and the DC Dread

Having said all that, this was a really fun game. My opponent was a blast, his army was cool, and we laughed a lot.

Game 2

Next up was seize ground, 3 objectives with Dawn of War. I was playing Space Wolves with 3 squads of Long fangs (a mix of heavy bolters, missile launchers and Lazcannons, one with 4 Lazcannons!) , two squads of grey hunters and a big pack of Thunder Wolves with a Lord. I had first turn.

I deployed nothing, with the assault squad deep striking and the ‘Ravens coming on first turn. He deployed one pack of grey hunters on each of the 2 objectives in his deployment zone, one on the left of the board behind a building, and the other on the right of the board in a ruin. He placed his TW Lord on the board on the right, supporting his GH squad in the ruin.

I was determined not to make any mistakes this time so took a while to think out a plan. Looking at it tactically, I needed to deal with the Twolves, before my assault squad came in. If the Twolves caught the Assault Squad they would die very, very quickly and I would have no scoring units. I reckoned my Furiosos would take the Thunderwolves as my opponent didn’t have a power fist or a thunder hammer in the squad. While it may take some time (they all had storm shields) the Furiosos should chew through them eventually taking minimal damage ((I only found out after I charged that they rend!). It didn’t matter how long it took to kill them, holding them up was good enough. However, to catch the Twolves I needed the ‘Ravens mobility – so first priority were the Long Fangs. The advantage I had here was that, because I was going first and his Fangs were walking on on his first turn (i.e. they could not shoot that turn) I had 2 turns to deal with the Fangs before they could shoot me.

So I had to deal with the Long Fangs, while avoiding the Twolves, but still be in a position to deal with the Twolves before my Assault Squad comes on. Tricky one.

The plan I came up with was this – I gambled on him bringing the Twolves in on the right, to join up with the Lord. I guessed he would then run them forward as quickly as possible to the objective in my deployment zone. On the left of the board there was some dead ground and a building on a hill which, if I stayed in the dead ground, would actually give my Raven’s a cover save from any long fangs coming in on the right side of the board. So I would bring one Furioso Raven on 12 inches in the middle of the board shooting the assault cannon and the multi melta at the GH squad on the left, the idea being to assault the Twolves next turn with the Furioso, stalling them in place until help could arrive. If he ran them forward I should be in assault range (maybe!). The DC Raven and the other Furioso ‘Raven would go flat out on the left into the dead ground and try and stay behind the building (they could also shoot at the GH squad at the left using PofTMS). This would (hopefully) persuade him to bring in the long fangs on the left so he could shoot at the Ravens his turn 2, without a cover save. If he did that I should be able to put a dent in them shooting everything from the 2 Ravens on the left, plus the Blood Strike Missiles from the Raven in the middle (everything else on that Raven would be out of range).

Well, it worked like a charm. I came on as planned and shot everything I could at the GH squad on the left. I killed enough to force a panic test, which they failed and they ran. However, they did not run far enough and my DC Raven was close enough to keep them running next turn. In his turn he brought in 2 of the LF packs on the left as I had hoped, but brought in the really scary one (with 4 lazcannons) on the far right. However he brought them on behind a building which blocked LOS to my Ravens! This was a mistake. The biggest threat to my Ravens didn’t get to shoot them all game!  The other mistake he made was bringing one of the LF packs on too close to the DC Raven – DC Dreads fleet…..! He also did what I expected and joined the Twolves up with the Lord and ran them forward toward the objective in my deployment zone.

In my turn I moved the DC Raven forward 12”, and got the Dread out. With a decent fleet role I should be able to assault one pack of LFs. I moved the Furioso Raven in the middle 12 and got the Dread out. It looked close but I reckoned I would be in charge range of the TWolves (the closest model was the Lord, which is important!). The other Furioso Raven was not in range to get the Dread into assault with the TWolves, so I moved it 6 so it could shoot all its weapons at either the Long Fangs, or the Twolves.

The DC Raven reduced one LF squad to a single Lazcannon. The DC Dread rolled a 4 on his fleet roll, which would get him in. I wasn’t sure what to do with shooting. The risk is that if I shot the Twolves he might put shots on the Lord, killing him and deny me the charge from the Furioso. On the other hand I suspected he would want to preserve his Lord. I took the risk and unloaded both Furioso Ravens on the TWolves, including the Blood Strike Missiles  on the one that moved only 6 inches. I was right, he did not want to lose his Lord and allocated on the other wolves. I think I killed one and put wounds on 2 others.

In assault my DC Dread wiped out the Long Fang pack he charged, and the Furioso got into assault with the TWolves (just). I had an anxious moment when my opponent told me that the Twolves rend (must read other codexes more carefully!), but he was fine and I think killed a  wolf or 2.

After that things went according to plan. The other Furioso joined in the assault next turn, and the Twolves died (one of the Furioso’s was immobilized by a rending strike from the Lord, but that didn’t matter). My assault squad came in and took 2 objectives. The Death Company and the librarian annihilated the other squad of Grey Hunters, and then chewed through the remaining long fang pack. In the process I lost my DC Dread (remember the last remaining long fang with the Lazcannon…!), and the DC Raven to a cheeky melta gun shot from the GH pack, just before the Death Company hit them (wiping them out).

A win!

Game 3

Capture and Control, Spearhead against another Thunder Wolf List. However, this time there were 2 squads, one of 3 and one of 4 (with a Power Fist), and 2 Lords, one with a Thunder Hammer. They were backed up by 3, 6 man squads of grey hunters in Heavy Bolter razorbacks and a Rune Priest.

Not so easy this time – my Furioso’s would have to be more careful.

So I got first turn, took the quarter on the right, with a bastion in it. I placed my objective on top of the Bastion– the Twolves weren’t contesting that, and an assault squad on top of the bastion was safe from assault. I set up my Ravens on the table and reserved my assault squad…and my opponent reserved everything. I hate that (which probably means it was a sound tactical choice by my opponent!). It’s really difficult to plan a battle when everything is so random. So the very general plan was to get one combat squaded assault squad onto the Bastion, and keep one in a Raven to try and get his objective.

On my turn 2 my assault squad came in. I combat squaded and got one beside a Raven to get in next turn, and one beside the Bastion to jump up next turn. On his turn 2, he got in both TWolf squads and a Razor back. The big Twolf squad (4 Twolves and the lightening claw Lord) sat just beside his objective (in ruins on the left), and the other squad made a bee line for my Ravens.

In my turn 3, one combat squad jumped in a Raven, and the other got on top of the Bastion. I took a risk and only moved my Ravens 6” so I could unload everything onto the advancing Twolf squad. Sadly, shooting was largely ineffective - I think I dropped one. In his turn he shot at the Squad in the Bastion. I went to ground for a 2+ cover save, but I lost a man. In the assault he dropped one of my Ravens with the Lord’s Thunder Hammer.

My turn 3 I had a difficult choice – I only have 4 scoring models in the Bastion. Will they last 3 round of shooting, or should I reinforce them with the other combat squad in the ‘Raven, relying on contesting the other objective rather than taking it? I decided to be cautions and got the combat squad out the Raven and heading to the Bastion. And that was a huge mistake. I forget for a moment that Twolves fleet, and that they are Beasts. In his turn he split the Twolf Lord from the big squad and it caught the combat squad before they got into the Bastion. He also managed to kill another assault marine in the Bastion. I’m now down to 3 scoring models…..!

The rest of the game was a desperate attempt by me to stop him shooting at the models in the Bastion and rushing to contest his base. I made it, but if involved me making four 2+ saves on the my last remaining scoring model in the last turnoff the game, and his big Squad of Twolves breaking after losing an assault with one of my Furiosos, and running off the Board by about 2mm!

A win, but a very close one.

Lesson learned? It is not always a good idea to deep strike and/or combat squad the Assault Squad. I should have kept them together and actually deployed them on the Bastion. Much harder to kill ten 2+ saves than 5, especially when your only assault units can’t get to them.

Game 4

Seize Ground, 5 objectives, pitched battle. Against orks – Warboss on a bike with 5 Nob Bikers, 3 battle wagons, one with Mega Nobs inside, and the other 2 with boys, 3 Killer Kans, a bunch of gretchin and a Mek with KFF. Objectives are placed in a cross formation, one in the middle of the board and one more or less in the middle of each quarter. I want to spread them out to rely on my (hopefully) superior speed.

I very seldom play orks, so I’m not too familiar with the codex. At the outset I ask lots of questions and I’m horrified to find out what Deff Rollas do….!

So again, really need to think this one through. Like game 2, the big threat is the Bikers. I need to kill them, before my assault squad deploys or it will die very, very quickly. The unit has a claw on the Boss, and I think one more claw, so my Furioso’s will need to be careful. I also need to avoid the Deff Rollas, and the Killer Kans, both of which will murder my Raven’s and my Dreads….!

I took a long time to figure this one out…and if my opponent reads this, sorry… I really did take a long time thinking this one through. Eventually I came up with a plan. What I needed to do was persuade him to split his army. I needed to get my Furiosos out to deal with the Bikers, but I need to do that some distance away from the battle wagons and the Killer Kans. After a while it suddenly dawned on me that the key was the KFF Mek. He would want to keep his wagons together to benefit from the KFF, and would probably want his Killer Kans there too. On the other hand he would rely on the automatic cover save his Nobs get from their exhaust fumes (what ever that’s called). So the plan I came up with was to deply one Furioso Raven in the right corner of my deployment zone, and the other 2 raven’s in the left corner. What I hoped was that my opponent would want to minimise side shots on his Battlewagons from Blood Strike Missiles, and deploy all three wagons (and the Kans) opposite the 2 Ravens on the left, but at the same time would want to counter the single Raven on the right, and would do so with the Nob Bikers. The plan would then be to fire all the Blood Strike Missiles at the Killer Kans to try and take them down, and then move all the Ravens to the right, joining forces to take out the Nob Bikers. I could then deploy my assault squad on 2 of the objectives on the right, and move everything to the left to try and stop the Wagons.

So that’s what I did, and it worked! My opponent deployed his Wagons on the left along with his Kans. On the right he deployed the Nob Bikers. I shot 12 Blood Strike missiles at the Kans and managed to take out only 1! However, after whittling down the bikers with shooting from all 3 Ravens, one Furioso and the DC Dread managed to kill the rest before running down the fleeing Warboss. After that is was a matter of stopping the Wagons with the Raven’s Multi Meltas and Assault Cannons, and then mopping up the squishy stuff inside, stopping them getting to the objectives.

That makes it sound easy, but it wasn’t. There were a few anxious moments, and my opponent played a very thoughtful, tactical game, but I pulled it off.

I thoroughly enjoyed this game. Very tactical, with both of us forced to think really hard about exactly how we played it. This was the only game that ran the full 2.5 hours allowed.

Game 5

Annihilation, pitched battle against a biker marine army with Khan.

This was against I guy I had played before at Throne of Skulls. When I saw his name as my opponent I was really looking forward to the game. Our last game was really close, with a lot of thought going into it from both of us. He’s a very good, tactical player. Our last game got my vote for favorite game.

Unfortunately, when I saw his list I realised that this was the worst of bad match ups for him. He had a biker command squad, 2 big squads of bikes (with attack bikes) and 2 squads of 2 attack bikes. He had only 8 weapons that could down my Ravens at range, and my Dreads would absolutely mince his bikes. As long as I could kill the melta guns before getting my Dreads out, or at least get my Dreads into assault with them straight out the Raven, I was pretty confident. The only slight worry was the command squad ‘cause it had a few storm shields, but not that much of a worry - from memory it only had one Power Fist.

And not only was my list a bad match up, but the mission was as well. If it had been seize ground he might have been able to avoid me and grab the objectives, but it wasn’t. It was annihilation!

I tabled him for the loss of one model from the Death Company.

So that’s it, 4-0-1 and best BA player. I’m sure you’ll agree I was assisted by some pretty lucky match ups.

But the list was really fun. Ironically, what I enjoyed most was its weaknesses. Because of them, I had to think really hard about how I was going to play each game. And in the words of the late great Hannibal Smith “I love it when a plan comes together”!


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