Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Games of War Spring Tourney

At the weekend I was at the Games of War Spring Tournament. The tradition at this one is there are 2 lists – 1750pts on the Saturday and 2000pts on the Sunday. Usually I simply add some units to my 1750 list to make it up to 2000, however, as long as the primary detachments are from the same codex, there was nothing stopping me taking a completely different list … which is what I did.

On the Saturday I took

Captain with Artificer Armour, on a bike with Lightening Claw and Power fist

Biker Command Squad, 2 Storm Shields, 2 power lances and 2 power axes

10 man Scout Squad

Bike Squad, 2 Plasma Guns, 5 extra guys, Combi Melta, MM Attack Bike

Bike Squad, 2 Plasma Guns, 5 extra guys, Combi Melta, MM Attack Bike

Storm Talon with Typhoon Missile Launcher x2

Thunder Fire Cannon x2

On Sunday I took



Command Squad, 4 Melta Guns, 4 Flamers, 2 Melta Bombs, Drop Pod

Tac Squad, Melta. Multi Melta, Combi Melta, Drop Pod x3

Iron Clad, Twin Heavy Flamers, Assault Launchers, Drop Pod x2

So first is list all about manoeuvrability, hitting hard  and running away, 2nd list all about getting up close and personal, before smashing face.


Game 1

Big Guns, 5 Objectives against Blood Angles. His list was Libby with Jump Pack, a priest with a jump pack, 2 Assault Squads with Jump Packs, 2 Frag Launcher Furiosos in Pods, bunch of Death Company in  Storm Raven with Lemartes, and a DC Dread in a Pod.

Must say I was worried about this list. I don’t really have any “expendable” bubble wrap in the bike list to push back his pods, other than the scouts.

So, he got first turn and set up the assault squads with the Libby and the Priest, everything else in reserve. I set up everything , using the scouts to bubble wrap as best I could, but I also used the command squad. With the captain and 2 storm shields they should be able to take some punishment from the frag launchers. I combat squaded the bikes, 2 plasma’s in one squad for heavy infantry duty, and the combi melta and MM Attack Bike in the other one to hunt dreadnaughts. I hid the melta teams behind the bubble wrap, so they could deal with the dreads after the drop.

His first Furioso comes down and hits “bang on” right beside on of the TFCs. However, his other one scatters off the board and he rolls a “1” on the mishap table i.e. destroyed. Now this was unlucky, he wasn’t going for a particularly risky deep strike, he just scatter a long way. So we agreed that, while it would count as “first blood”, we would treat it as a “misplaced” result instead, and I placed it way over in the far corner.

The first Furioso wiped out the scout bubble wrap.

In my turn I killed the Furioso, and pounded the assault squads with the TFCs, but didn’t kill very many due to their 3+ and 5+ FNP rolls. I didn’t move around much ‘casue I wanted to see what he did with the DC dread and the ‘Raven.

In his turn 2 the DC dread stayed off, but the ‘Raven came on. The ‘Raven came straight at me, but really didn’t kill anything because most of my bikes now had a 4+ Jink save.

My next turn won the game. One of the Stormtalons came on and blew up his ‘Raven. All the death company bar one and Lemartes died in the explosion.  After that it was just mopping up. The bikes killed the DC dread when it came down, and the other Furioso after it slogged all the way across the board. The TFC’s and the ‘Talons killed the Assault Squads, and the Command squad dealt with  Lemartes.

Win to me. Learning point? Assault cannons are pretty good against Stormravens when they rend! 


Game 2

The Scouring against Ratwolf’s Nids. Two flying Hive Tyrants, 4 Hive Guard, 2 Trygons, 2  Tervigons with lots of little bugs, and the Doom in a pod.

Yikes….! This is a pretty evil list, and I’m not very good with Nids. I’ve played Ratwolf’s nids before, in 5th, and beaten them with my “old” tri Stormraven list, but nobody locally plays Nids, and I’m not very familiar with what they do. I’ve read the Codex, but that’s very different from having experience playing them.

And Ratwolf was out for revenge – we’ve played twice before at these tourney’s and its 2-0 to me……..!

I go first and I set up conservatively, giving myself as much space as possible to gun down the big bugs, while running away. He deploys as far forward as he can.

In my first turn I move all the bikes to get a 4+ cover save, but don’t really go anywhere. I kill a squad of ‘gaunts with the TFCs. This would be a feature of the game. Ratwolf would spawn some gaunts, and I would remove them! TFC’s are pretty awesome!

Anyway, the game went as one might guess it would. The big bugs rushed me and I manged to kill all of them bar one. Once the ‘Talons come on, it’s a surprisingly shooty list. It doesn’t have a huge volume of shots, but because it’s so manoeuvrable, you can get the guns to where they need to be. So at the beginning of Turn 4 I  thought I pretty much had the game in the bag …. and then the Doom came down…..!

And this is the difference between reading about what a unit does, and experiencing it. I had of course read up on what the Doom could do, but experiencing it is an entirely different matter. I had bunched up my units to try and deal with the last remaining Trygon who was on 2 wounds. The plan was then to move onto one of the Tervigons that was threatening the middle objective. But the Doom stopped all of that…!

After the dust settled I was left with the Captain and a depleted command squad, and the odd bike her and there! The Captain managed to Power Fist the Doom in assault, but it was too late – I didn’t then have enough bikes to kill the Trygon, the Tervigons and then grab some objectives.

An 8-6 win to Ratwolf.

Although it was a loss, I was actually quite pleased with how this game went. I felt  I was getting the hang of the hit and fade tactics. If had had more experience of the Doom, I might just have snatched it.


Game 3

Crusade, Hammer and Anvil, 5 objectives, against guard. Command Squad, in a Chimera, 2 other Chimeras with guys inside, a 20 man blob, the obligatory Manticore, 2 Leman Russes with scary guns, and the (2) obligatory Vendettas with guys inside (gosh, but guard armies are a bit “samey”!).

I let my opponent go first so  his ‘dettas would be on the board when my ‘talons came on turn 2. I set up as spaced out as possible and hunkered down. He set up as you would expect, all castled up behind his Aegis, and let rip…. and killed one TFC for first blood….phew!

In my turn the bikes roared forward, trying to keep behind cover as much as possible. The plan was to kill the stuff that would hurt me a range and then run away and grab objectives, leaving the Captain with his command squad to cause havoc.

In this turn 2 one of the ‘dettas came on and he killed a few bikes, but not too many. In my turn 2, both Talons came on and singularly failed to kill the one ‘detta that was on the table….! They stripped 2 hull points and forced it to jink though, which was OK I guess. The bikes fared better however, killing both Russes, with the Command Squad lining up a charge on the blob….which it then failed!

Now that I had killed all his ranged weapons (other than the Manticore, which was tucked away in the back, behind some Chimeras) the rest of the game consisted of me running away to claim objectives, while trying to kill the vendettas to stop the guys inside claiming or contesting. I was successful (although those bloody Vendettas were a pain to put down!)

Win to me.

Again, the manoeuvrability of the bikes really paid off. The key in this game was to hit the key targets quickly and then run away, while the TFCs and the Talons kill stuff.


Game 4

So day 2 and I’m on table 2 (Little Geek is on table one, having gone 3 – 0 yesterday!) against Tau, kill points, vanguard strike. Now playing the 2000pt pod army.

Now I very seldom get to play against Tau, but I obviously know the Codex very well, and how the army plays … and I have a pretty good list to play against them, so I was pretty confident going into this game…..! You can guess where this is going can’t you…!

He had a Deathrain Shas’el with  Positional relay (this is important!), a squad of twin plasma XV8s, a Stealth team,2 squads of Kroot, 3 squads of fire warriors (one in a ‘fish), a Hammerhead, 3 piranhas in a squadron, 2 Broadsides with plasma rifles and Sniper Drones. Oh, and a Bastion!

Now I’ve never thought about taking a bastion with my Tau, but it makes perfect sense. Put the Broadsides inside and the Shasel on top manning the laszcannon/quad gun. Now your Broadsides have a much better line of sight, and an AV14 building to hide in. It makes them very static, but they are pretty static anyway. Bubble wrap the bunker and you have a pretty effective gun “line”.

Long story short, I managed to “squeak” a draw. Bluntly, I was completely out played…!

My opponent set up this bastion, bubble wrapped by Kroot and a squad of fire warriors. Broadsides inside, Commander with a small squad of F’warriors on the top, manning the lazcannon. He was then able to keep everything else in reserve. I podded in to kill the bubble wrap, the Bastions etc. Over the next 2 turns he keeps most of his army of  the board using the Positional relay. Makes me work (really) hard to kill the bastion and the Broadsides (Lysander got slapped down by the Broadsides in assault, having lost 2 wounds to overwatching Railguns…!), and then brings the rest of his army on turn 4, killing 3 units in that turn, and (from memory) 2 more in turn 5 for the draw….!

A very tactically astute game by my opponent, and pretty dumb one from me ..!

I see a Bastion in my future!


Game 5

So while I drew my last game, I took enough VPs to be on top table game 5 (5thed VP’s were used to separate rankings). Up against my old nemesis Hesh and his guard. Emperor’s will, Vanguard Strike.

Now, after our last game (see the report in the last GofW tourney report), Hesh had obviously had a long think about how to counter drop pods. So this time, as well as the obligatory, Manticore, 2 Vendettas, blob squad and 3 squads of guys with melta and plasma in chimeras, he was running Coteaz in a henchman squad with 2 Jakeros, 2 plasma cannons, 2 plasma guns, some “wounds” and a multimelta. He had swapped his comms relay for a Quad gun, and kept the strike squad for warp quake…….!


Luckily, I get first turn and take it to try and get down before he gets warp quake off. I still need to contend with “I’ve been expecting you” but I have a chance.

Hesh castle’s up in a corner on his objective, with everything on the board except Marbo and the 2 dettas. I place my objective in the opposite corner (as you will see later this was a mistake). The plan is to bring one tac squad down on the objective and the other 2 down to support the first wave. Coteaz fails to seize and we’re on.

IMHO, Hesh deployed poorly (sorry mate…!). He puts Coteaz squad in a ruin which partially blocks their line of sight to the left of his line. I can bring down units on the left, out of Coteaz 12” cheese bubble, and even if I scatter into the gorgonzola, not everything will get to fire. So that’s the plan.

First dread comes down perfectly, the Pod just outside the bubble. The dread deploys inside the bubble, but the MM can’t see it and the Jokeros either can’t see it, or miss, I can’t remember. The important point is that he’s fine. I try to do the same with the next dread, but because I only have a small area to work in, I try a more risky deep strike and the pod mishaps off the table. I roll “misplaced” and he now has a very long walk to get anywhere. Vulcan and his melta team come down perfectly however, just out of the cheese bubble, but just in melta range of a chimera. I’ve now use up the “window” and Lysander needs to come in right in the middle of the gorgonzola. The pod comes in, is hit and blows up, killing (from memory) 3 sternguard. Coteaz brings out the super strong cheddar and fires the same henchman squad again at Lysander and the Sternguard (stupid rule!), killing all but 5 and putting 2 wounds on Lysander.

 Hmmm… not great, but could have been worse.

In my shooting phase, Vulcan and friends kill a Chimera, and most of the guys inside die in the explosion. The dread kills some guardsmen, and a couple of strike marines. The Sternguard play a blinder and very, very nearly kill Coteaz (he was one 4+ save away from snuffing it from a combi melta shot, but saved). However, they whittle down the henchman squad.

In Hesh’s turn he fails to get Warp Quake off (happy dance!). He also forgets to move his artillery (he was running a Colossus along with the Manticore) so he can’t draw line of sight on Vulcan, or the dread  that’s up close and personal. He lets rip, but all he does is kill the remaining Sternguard and takes Lysander down to 1 wound. He then (IMHO) makes another mistake and assaults Lysander with the strike squad. He forgets for a moment that Halberds are now AP3. This assault will last for about 4 rounds while Lysander whittles down the strike squad, but importantly, keeps him safe from shooting, until most of the other stuff is killed and he can kill the last remaining squad holding Hesh’s objective.

In my turn all 3 pods come in. One goes onto my objective, and the other 2 come down to support the front line. The misplaced Dread starts running! I kill another Chimera, immobilise the last Chimera and the front line Dread assaults Coteaz and his squad. By this time Hesh’s castle is a wreck, and all that’s left for me to do is mop up.

However, on his turn 3 both dettas come on and make a beeline for my objective. And this was my big mistake. Stupidly, I had placed the objective way over in a corner, leaving only one tac squad protecting it. Two ‘dettas filled with melta guns, flamers and plasma, and (next turn) Marbo, made short work of them, and take my objective. What I should have done is place my objective as close to Hesh’s as possible, so that I would have multiple suads available to hold it. Duh…! That lost me the game.

So, at the end of turn 4, Hesh had my objective, first blood and line breaker for 5 points, and I had line breaker and kill the warlord, for 2 points. On my turn 4 I had come up short by about 2 inches on a run roll to grab  his objective. Time had been called and I had lost, but very honourably, Hesh suggested a turn 5 and I was able to run one tac marine onto his objective, for the draw.

Well played Hesh, and a suitable ending to a tense and exciting game!


List thoughts

Neither of these list are “the best of” space marine lists, but both of them are really fun to play, but in very different ways. In fact, they couldn’t be more different. The bike list is very mobile, relying on mobility and movement to deliver a hammer blow, exactly where it’s needed, before fading away our of trouble. The Drop Pod list is a very blunt instrument, delivering a hammer blow in one location, but struggling to redeploy to cope with anything else. I love them both!

How could they be improved?


Bike List

What worked

·         Thunder Fire Cannons are awesome. They dealt with the Assault squads in game one, kept me in the game by killing loads of little bugs in game 2, and even although one of them was killed first turn, dealt with guardsmen in game 3.

·         A captain on a bike with artificer armour is really tough – he’s just great at “tanking” wounds and keeping stuff alive. In game 3 my opponent’s blob squad fired 54 las gun shots at the command squad, and killed on guy!

·         Storm talons. Jury is still out, but they did really well, killing a Stormraven in game one, dispatching big bugs in game 2, and (eventually) a Vendetta in game 3. I was worried about fragility, but they survived to the end of all three games.

·         Bike squads. Having 2 full squads allows you to split them into 2 plasama squads and 2 melta squads, increasing flexibility.

What didn’t work

·         The command squad. I’m just not persuaded that a command squad tooled up for close combat is really worth its points. As it stands it’s running at around 290pts. It never got into close combat in game 1, finally killed a grounded Hive Tyrant in game 2, and killed a blob squad in game 3. However, investing those points in more guns might be a better option.

So  I think I could lose the assault orientated command squad without really weakening the list. I’ve been thinking about 3 alternatives

·         Re tool the Command Squad, swapping the power weapons for plasma guns. That would be just terrifying, but pricy.

·         With a bit of jiggling around, I could probably squeeze in another full bike squad.

·         A second tooled out captain, with points to spare. The thinking here is that when I need to get a melta squad into position the captain can “lead them out” tanking wounds on the way in, allowing to melta to get close enough to hit it’s target



Pod List

The pod list was pretty much the same as the last time and worked pretty much the same as last time. It has serious limitations which were shown in both games. In game 4, my Tau opponent “danced rings round me”, and in Game 5, Hesh exploited my inability to redeploy to win the game. In game 5 I could have placed my objectives smarter, but there was little I could have done in game 4.

I’ve already discussed how this might be strengthened using Space Wolf allies, but, as a C:SM list, I can’t think of how to improve it, while still keeping it an all pod list. My only  thought might be to replace the tac squads multi melta’s with laz cannons. I could combat squad and keep the laz cannon half in the back field to hold objectives and provide some long range shooting – but 3 lazcannons doesn’t really scare anybody.

One thought that is intriguing, however is whether I could squeeze in a Stormraven, now that C:SM can take them. It sort of keeps the integrity of the list as everything still starts off the board, its just that some of it is in a Stormraven…….or 2!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting observations on the Bike Command Squad. I run one as well, but a lot more diverse. Mine is typically Champion, Apothecary, Banner Bearer, Powerfist, Power Axe. It's mostly built that way because those are the models I either enjoyed or that were failed sergeants (powerfist and axe are both former squad sergeant models). I ran the banner because in 5th I had a string of disasters where I'd fail a couple Morale tests from shooting caualties in Turn One and lose half my force to fleeing off the board.
    I kept running the Command Squad out of force of habit, and because folks liked looking at the models. But, it is a lot of points (mine tops out at 275-285 depending on meltabomb count) for limited return.
    I led them witha Captain with artificer armor and a relic blade, who provided the mass kill power they needed at I5.

    I'm going to try running my typical biker list without the command squad, and instead roll in another small troops slot, and use the excess points for more supporting units like landspeeders. We'll see how it goes!