Friday, 1 June 2012

Club Challenge 2012 – flight of the Storm Ravens (cue Robert Duval waxing lyrically about napalm in the morning!)

This was a really fun weekend. It was a club tournament, well actually it was 5 tournaments in one – 40k, Fantasy, Blood Bowl, Hordes and Flames of War. Your club entered players in 4 out of the 5, and the club with the highest average score across all 4 won. There were also prizes for the top 3 in each system, and a club shield for each system. I was playing for the Cheltenham Warchiefs (don’t ask!), and we were targeting the 40k shield.

So Friday night didn’t go well. I am such a light weight when it comes to beer….and whiskey…! And so it would appear poker (the only text I got from Mrs Geek all weekend was not to tell me how much she was missing me, but to ask how much I lost at poker…!)

So Saturday started bright and early (well early anyway), and my first opponent was playing Necrons.

The games had 3 missions in each – the Primary, which was usually objective based (one annihilation game during the weekend), then VP difference which applied a score modifier, and then an optional objective (like kill their most expensive unit, or most expensive HQ etc). You got 20 points for a win, 10 for a draw and 5 for a loss. A big VP margin could give you another 5 points (with your opponent losing 5 points) and you could get 5 points for achieving your “secret mission.

Game 1

Last time I played Necrons I got absolutely humped… this time I approached it very cautiously. Mission was sieze ground with 5 objectives, spearhead deployment. He had 3 spiders, two 6 “man” units of wraiths, an overlord in a barge and 4 squads of 5 warriors with a Cryptec in each. He also had a destroyer Lord, and 2 of the barge thingies that shoot heaps of S7 shots, and even more if they roll a 6 (Telsa?). I got first turn and deployed, he deployed everything and did not sieze. Objectives were spread roughly in an “X” pattern toward the centre of the board.

In my first turn he shot a solar flare, so I didn’t shoot anything and didn’t really move either – I wanted do stay away from the Lord in the Barge and his drive by attack. In his turn he tried to spawn some scarabs and rolled 3 ones, wounding each of his spiders! He moved his Lord flat out, and moved everything else into the middle of the board.

Hmmmm…to get the objectives I needed to deal with his Wraiths. I suspected they would murder my Sanguinary Guard, but I fancied my Furioso’s chances (S5, even with rending, will find AV13 tricky). The 3++ save will mean it would be a long combat, but all I really needed to do was pin them in place, allowing my Guard to target his troops and hopefully wipe them. The problem was I needed to tie up 2 squads of Wraiths, and kill 4 troops choices with only 5 units (2 Furiosos and 3 squads of Guard). Oh and I really needed to kill the Lord in the Barge before he gibbed my Ravens.

So the plan was to kill the Lord first, then kill the spiders (don’t’ want any more scarabs scuttling about) tie up the Wraiths with the Furioso’s, and kill his troops with the Guard, and hope I had some Guard left to claim some objectives….!

It almost worked – the spiders went down in a flurry of blood strike missiles, the Lord went down to the Raven’s Multi Meltas, and one Furioso ripped through a squad of Wraiths (the extra armour really helped here – effectively giving him a 5++ in close combat). However I wasn’t able to catch the other Wraith squad, and they pulped one squad of Guard. However, I did manage to kill all his troops (bar 2 that were out of position),  both Lords and all his vehicles. Turn 5 I had 5 scoring models left (2 in one squad and 3 in another) but they were out of position. If it had gone onto turn 6, I could have bounced the guard onto objectives for the win…but it ended turn 5.

So a draw on Primary, but I won on secondary and achieved my mission (kill his most expensive HQ). So a win for me something like 17pts to 6pts.

The Furioso’s were great this game at holding up wraiths – didn’t kill them very quickly, but stopped them doing anything. The biggest problem was that my scoring units were also my heavy lifters – I didn’t get the timing right i.e. I didn’t pull the Guard back quickly enough to grab the objectives.

Game 2

Three Objectives, one in the centre and 2 on the centre line, 9 inches in from the board edge. Against Guard – 2 Vendettas, a Manticore, 4 Chimeras, a Devil Dog and 2 Lehman Russ with the battle cannons. He also had some storm troopers and a bunch of metal/plasma vets in the chimeras and Vendettas. I got first turn (phew)!

I set up centrally, keeping Dante and a squad of SG in reserve, and he castle up in a corner. First turn I moved flat out right into his teeth, and jumped out all my units using “Skies of Blood” and the locator beacons on the Ravens. I popped smoke on the Dreads, and landed the guard in cover behind the Dreads. As discussed before, the idea was to give him target priority issues.

It worked a treat – from memory I think I lost one squad of Guard, but everything else survived. My turn 2, Dante came down and I was in about him. Long story short- at the end of the game I had 2 objectives, he had 6 guardsmen left, and I achieved my mission (kill 50% of his  troops). Stand out moments – Dante, the Guard the Ravens and every other sodding melta gun in my army failing to do anything to his Chimeras for about 2 turns….! Him deep striking his storm troopers beside 2 remaining Guard models that were running away from the action to grab an objective, opening up with 2 melta guns, hitting with both, but rolling snake eyes to wound (phew), and finally moving a Raven flat out behind one of his Vendettas and firing the assault cannon into its rear armour, killing it.

So a 28 points to 2 win.

Game 3

Annihilation, Dawn of War, Grey Knights. Two Autocannon Dreads, a Dreadknight, a bunch of terminators with max psycannons, 2 squads of purifiers in rhinos, and 3 strike squads in razorbacks.

Now, looking at this, I quite fancied my chances – if I could get them out their boxes, and my Dreads into combat, I might just pull it off….! But it didn’t work! In his first round of shooting he downed both ravens, and killed one of the Dreads that came out of them. Effectively that was game over there and then. I just could not advance into his hail of shooting. Big loss for me – 28pts to 2 pts. My opponent went on to win best overall, which makes the loss a little easier to bear!

So end of day 1 and sitting on 2 wins and a loss. Not too bad, but a little disappointed in the last loss being such a bit one.

Game 4

Grey Knights again. Capture and control. Spearhead. He had a Dreadknight with teleporter, Landraider with purifiers, a big bunch of terminators (10) a Grandmaster, a Dreadnaught with autocannons and a razor back with a strike squad inside (BTW – the army looked amazing – very well done in Bronze rather than silver – he got my vote for best army).

So I took a little time to think this one through. He only had 2 scoring units (the Termis and the Strike Squad). I suspected he would camp the termis on his objective, and use the Dreadknight to contest mine with the 36” shunt move. With that in mind I placed my objective on the top of a 3 story building, in the middle of the board. My Guard could fly up there, but his Dreadknight couldn’t (MCs can get up onto top stories, but only if they “fit” – it was a small, but tall building!). The idea was to kill the strike squad, and retreat with a Guard squad to the top of the building I would then try and contest his objective.

He won first turn but gave it to me. And it was the right thing to do. There was lots and lots of terrain on the table. He managed to set up in such a way that I could see nothing to launch my missiles at. So I set up on the line, keeping Dante and a squad in reserve. The idea is that I would use his “no scatter on deep strike rule” to nuke the Land raider if needs be. So I moved flat out into his teeth with one Raven, and hid the other slightly back behind terrain (yes the terrain was that big!) I used the machine spirit to shoot his Raider, hit it and penned it, but rolled a “1” on the chart…bugger! In his turn the purifiers jumped out the Raider and downed the first Raven but he didn’t do much else. The Guard squad and the Dreadnaught sheltered in the wreckage, preparing to kill the Purifiers that had jumped out the Raider and shot down their ride.

My turn 2, Dante came in. Hmmm….I needed to pull the Terminators off his objective. If I deep struck Dante and crew close enough to hit the Raider, and tempt a charge from the Termis that might just do it. I could then try and get both Furiosos into the terminators. So Dante deep struck right behind the raider – the Guard Squad and the Furioso that had been blown out their Raven lined up the Purifiers and the Second Raven moved flat out in the hope that it would kill the Autocannon Dread. I used skies of blood to get the Gurad squad out of the remaining Raven. Close to the ruin with my objective in it.

Well Dante and the SG failed to kill the Raider (3 penetrating hits, 2 ones and a 2 on the chart!). The Guard wiped the Purifiers (no halberds), and the Raven took an arm the Dread.

In his turn he moved the Terminators off his objective to assault Dante (good), but moved his strike squad razorback and the Dread cleverly to block an assault from the Furioso in the Raven (bad). The strike squad jumped out and killed the Guard squad that had wiped the Purifiers (argh!) and the Dreadknight assaulted the Furioso that had been shot out of the downed Raven (Oh dear!). And (having made his fortitude roll) he immobilized his Raider on terrain! The terminators pulped Dante’s squad (Dante took one with them) but Dante survived and used Hit and Run to get away, hiding behind the raider. The Terminators consolidated towards the Raven with the Furioso. The Dreadknight (even with the Great Sword) didn’t do anything to the Furioso (thank you extra armour!) and The Furioso did 2 wounds in reply.

In my turn Dante jumped over the Raider into position to assault the strike squad. The Raven moved to try and get position to allow the Furioso to assault the Terminators, but couldn’t (remember – lots of terrain!). I jumped the remaining guard squad onto my objective, killing 2 because of dangerous terrain tests!! Dante shot one marine in the strike squad, and the Raven finally killed the Autocannon Dreadnaught.  In assault Dante fluffed, killing only 3 marines! In return he was insta killed by the Demon Hammer….! Both the Dreadknight and the Furioso fluffed, and they were still locked in combat.

In his turn the remaining strike squad member got back into the razor back and zoomed off, onto his objective. Se he was holding his objective with one guy in a razorback. He shot the raven and did nothing, and then assaulted it with the Terminators, exploding it. The Dreadknight finally killed the Furioso and consolidated towards the Guard squad on top of the ruin.

In my turn I assaulted the Terminators with the Furioso, and shot the Dreadknight with an Infernus Pistol from the Guard in the Ruin. I put a wound on the Dreadknight (leaving him with one wound!), and the Furioso chewed through 9 terminators in 1 round of combat (!) leaving him locked in with the Grandmaster.

This was his turn 5 (I think!). He has just lost all his terminators (he took this hard because he forgot his psykotroke grenades!) and he was holding his objective with one marine. He needed to kill my Guard in the ruin and stop my Furioso killing the Grandmaster and consolidating onto his objective to contest it. All he had left was the immobilised Raider with a heavy bolter, the Grandmaster who could do nothing to the Furioso, and the Dreadknight on 1 wound.

First he tried to move the Dreadknight into the ruin to get the guard. He couldn’t do it – it was too big to fit on the ruin. I let him take the move back, and he jumped it over to assault the Furioso, locked in combat with the Grandmaster. He shot my Guard with the Raider’s heavy bolter but I made my 2+ saves. In the assault the Dreadknight had to go through terrain so was going last, so the Furioso killed the Grandmaster, and the Dreadknight cast Hammer Hand….and periled, failed its save and lost its last wound! The Furioso consolidated towards his objective, but was not in range to contest. I needed the game to go to a 6th turn…and it did!

The Furioso moved to the objective but stopped more than 3 inches away because of poor difficult terrain test. And I made a stupid stupid mistake. Rather than run onto his objective, to ensure the win, I decided to shoot the Razorback with the Melta. Rush of blood to the head! I missed. So at the moment it was a draw. If the game ended there, I would have snatched a draw from the jaws of victory. Thankfully it went on to turn 7 and I destroyed the razorback and killed the marine inside…phew!

So a really close game. At the end I had 1 Furioso and 2 Sanguinary Gurad left, and he had an imobilsed raider. So a win, but not a big win – 20 - 10 to me.

Game 5

Grey Knights again! To be fair there were only 4 Grey Knights players in the tournament of over 30 guys, so just unlucky I guess. Interesting list – he was running 2 storm ravens, 2 squads of 5 Paladins, 2 squads of 2 Paladins, a Dreadknight and Draigo.  

This was the 5 objective game I wasn’t looking forward to. One in the centre of the board and one in the centre of each quarter. Dawn of War. I won first turn, and gave it to him. He deployed one 2 man squad of paladins on the objective in the far left quarter, and one on the second floor of a ruin within striking distance of all three on the right of the board. He made the Dreadknight scoring with Grand strategy, but kept it in reserve deep striking. I deployed nothing, keeping one squad in reserve deep striking, and everything else coming on first turn.

His turn 1 he moved both Ravens full of Paladins flat out into the centre of the board. My first turn I moved my Ravens flat out head to head with his. I concentrated both Assault Cannons on one of them, exploding it and putting a wound on a Paladin. He had taken it off the board before we both remembered he had forgotten to take the cover save from going flat out. I guess I could have said “tough your mistake”, but that seemed a bit extreme…so I let him roll it and he saved – ah well!

His turn 2 he gets his Dreadknight in and deep strikes it onto the other objective on the left, essentially removing it from the action which was all happening on the right side of the board. He tries to shoot down my Ravens, but manages to only shake one of them.

My turn 2 I get the other squad in, but deep strike it away from the action, but able to get to objectives if necessary. I also explode both his Ravens!

That was pretty much game over there. In his turn he shoots at my ravens but they hold up. In my turn 3 I “monster” Draigo and his squad with both Furiosos, 2 squads of Sanguinary Guard, Dante and a Priest. After the dust settles I’ve wiped out the paladins and put 2 wounds on Draigo with the loss of 5 guard and Dante. Draigo has to take a bunch of fearless wounds and rolls I think 3 ones. Dead.

After that it was just a matter of stalling the Dreadknight by assaulting him with one of the Furiosos (they stayed locked in combat for the rest of the game) and picking of the other Paladin squad with the Raven’s Blood Strike Missiles, assault cannons and multi meltas. At the end I held 2 objectives, he held one, one was contested and the other had a Dreadknight running towards it (after finally killing the Furioso), but not fast enough….!

Another win 28pts – 2pts.

So – 4 wins and a loss, enough to give me 5th overall. We wont talk about how the club did!

I really enjoyed playing this list. It wasn’t optimal. I should have taken an assault squad rather than the 3 Guard squad, but it was fun to play. However, it really is too many eggs in 2 baskets. If the Ravens went down turn one or 2, then I really struggled. To make a Raven list work, I think you either need 3 of them, or other things (e.g. scouting Baal Predators, Razorbacks) to take the heat of 2 Ravens.

More importantly I really enjoyed the tournament as a whole – the team aspect of it was a blast.


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