Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Dark Millenium 5

This was the 4th time I’ve been to DM (missed last year’s event, which clashed with the LVO). The event has really hit its stride with 50 people attending (filling the venue), and having a waiting list. 

The Rules pack was quite unique, with primary and secondary missions, and Bonus Points for first blood, kill the warlord, line breaker and “last laugh) (i.e. the last person to kill something). The primary missions were recognisable, but the secondary maelstrom missions were bespoke for DM5. Your started with 20 maelstrom missions, of which you could achieve 2 per turn. They were all seperatly pointed (1-4), depending on how hard they were. There were 4 points for winning primary, 4 for secondary, and 4 bonus points.

Most people loved the rules pack, but I wasn’t a fan of the maelstrom mission. In practice games I found that having  20 missions you could choose from made things too complicated, slowing down the game as I thought about what I was going to achieve that turn. Ultimately I decided just to ignore the malestrom missions, and focus on the primary missions - if I scored any malestrom points it would be a bonus. 

So this was the list I took

Blood Angels Battalion

Captain, Thunder hammer, Jump Pack (Captain “JumpSmash”)

Scout Squad x3

Death Company x15, 3 Thunder Hammers, the rest wth Bolters and chainswords

Guard Brigade

Commander (the CP Miner)
Tempestor Prime x 2

Tempestor Scions, Plasma Gun x2, Plasma Pistol 
Tempestor Scions, Plasma Gun x2, Plasma Pistol 
Tempestor Scions, Plasma Gun x2, Plasma Pistol 
Tempestor Scions, Plasma Gun x2, Plasma Pistol 
Tempestor Scions, Plasma Gun x2, Plasma Pistol 
Tempestor Scions, Plasma Gun x2, Plasma Pistol 

Cyber Wolf x3

Inquisitorial Acolytes x3

Heavy Weapons squad with Mortars x3

Custodes Supreme Command Detachment

Shield Captain on Jet Bike x3

If I’m honest I didn’t like my list. The Cyber Wolves and the Acolytes were there just to make up the Brigade as cheaply as possible and “just didn’t feel right”, and the Shield Captains were a late additions (had been running Sanquinary Guard) because I loved the models, and thought they would provide necessary weight of fire from their Hurricane Bolters. However, again - it jsut didn’t feel right. But I’ll get to list analysis later. 

Usual format,  brief bat reps, and some list analysis.

Game 1

Against a space wolves list - Nigel, Bjorn, 3 units of Grey Hunters, 2 packs of wolves, 3 packs of Wulfven (sp!), 2 Dev Squads and a Plasma Obliterator. When I first saw the list (first round match ups were posted a few days before) I was pretty scared by the Plasma Obliterator, but after I read up on it it wasn’t too scary - a few Thunder Hammers will sort that right out!! Can’t remember the mission, but it didn’t matter.

We set up, me with most stuff in reserve, my opponent with everything on the board, except the Wulven who were coming in from the board edge. I knew about that “trick” having fallen foul of it in the past. If you know about it it’s easy to counter by making sure there was no board edge they could come in from. with all the models in my army, and the scouts infiltrating that was pretty easy.

My opponent got first turn and shot me. I think he brought in one unit of Wulven, but they were so far away, its didn’t matter much. In my turn I moved up and brough in some scions to kill 2 packs of grey hunters that were screening the Plasma Obliterator. The Shield Captains Hurricane Bolters and the Scions cleared away the screens, and I shot the unit of Wulven a bit. In my opponents turn he shot me a bit and brought in another unit of Wulven. I brought in more scions and the BA Captain. The scions killed stuff and the BA Captain and the shield captains assaulted the Plasma Obliterator and killed it. It was pretty much mopping up after that.

Learning points - Screening and board control are really important in 8th. Being able to block board edges with scouts and “chaff” units neutralised the Wulven as a real threat (TBH, my opponent would have been better deploying them on the board, and forcing me to deal with them). Also the Commander with Khurov’s Aquila and Grand Strategist, is so good I don't expect it to survive the March FAQ. I started the game with 16CPs, and, despite spending liberally, ended the game with 11!! Finally, in assault, Wulven are horrendous!! The ability to attack again once they die, even if they have already attacked, makes taking them out in assault a suicide mission. 

Game 2

But of course a big win in game 1 launches you up the tabels, so Game 2 I found myself with a nose bleed on table 3, versus an interesting Imperium list. 2 Knights, 2 Lehman Russ Commanders, some guardsmen, an assassin (the assasulty one), and the most annoying unit in the game right now, St Celestine!! I’m sure there was other stuff, but they were the highlights. 

Now, I’ve played this list before at the club (my opponent is an “irregular” attender) so I kinda knew what it did. The key is killing the Knights, but that’s harder said that done, because while you’re focusing on doing that (and getting past the guard screen) the assassin and the Saint are harassing your backfield. Long and short of it .... I killed the knights (Thunder Hammers are “the bollocks!!), but I didn’t do it fast enough. My opponent was a master at screening his knights and denying me effective places to deep strike. A loss, but a relatively narrow one.

Learning points - I need to rethink my screen killing game. For an army that relies largely on deep striking killy stuff in close, and charging - having a place to land is really important. I need to be more aggressive with my scouts during deployment and get them right up in my opponents grill, to push back their screens, and then get more effective at killing the screen, before bringing in my Killy stuff (more thoughts on that to follow).

Game 3

So, back down to mid table obscurity!! Against a kinda similar list to mine, in that he had BA characters, cyber wolves Shield Captains (5 of them!) and guard. Long story short .... I came 3rd!!

The difficulty again were screens - my opponent played it really clever and kept all his Killy stuff behind a line of guardsmen and cyber wolves and slowly pushed it out across the board, while harassing my backfield with assassins. After the game, we discussed what I could have done differently - we concluded I should have played my Death Company more aggressively, spread them along the whole length of his screen, and taken it all out on turn one. The problem was, I was running 3 Thunder Hammers in that unit and felt I needed them for the Shield Captains, so didnt’ want to “throw them away” on screen killing. 

Learning points - if I’m going to use the Death Company as screen clearance (which they are very good at) maybe it’s not a good idea to have Thunder Hammers in the unit that would be “wasted” on those screens. 

Game 4

The draw was posted up in the evening of day one, and it had me up against Tyranids (80 Genestealers!!), so I spent some time reading the Tyranid Codex and working out what I was going to do about that. However, in the morning I found there had been a drop out, and the draw was changed, putting me up against Death Guard. To be honest I was pretty pleased about that, because I wanted to practice against Death Guard, as I’ve never played them before (and I hear they’re real nasty!!)

His list had some characters, that I never really understood, 2 Demons Princes, 3 Bloat Drones, 2 Plage Crawlers, a Predators and 3 units of Plague Marines. I assumed his battle plan would be to shove the Bloat Drones and the Demon Princes down my throat, and blast me with his tanks ..... which was pretty much what happened. But I screened off the board, leaving the Princes and Drones nothing much to do in turn one, and then pounded all 5 of them with Plasma, Shield Captains and Death Company ..... and bounced off! They are unbelievably durable. I killed them eventually, but it took 4 units of Scions, the Death Company, and all three Shield Captains, over three rounds of combat to finish them off. After that, it was a matter of clearing up (easier said than done - those Plage Burst Crawlers are nasty).

Great, game against a fun opponent, and learned a lot about Nurgle units (more to come on that).

Game 5

Against Ad Mech - Robots, Cawl, Grav Kataphrons, 2 Dune Crawlers, and some other stuff. Now, I’ve heard about the Robots, and know that they have horrendous fire power, assisted by Cawl’s re-rolls, but if they’re shooting, they can never move again, so the key must be to tie them up in combat. So that was my plan. 

My opponent really didn't have any screens for his Robots - the only thing he could have used was a unit of Electro Priest, buy for soem reason he put them in reserve and planned to infiltrate them after deployment. He also deployed his robots on the line (we were playing Hammer and Anvil so he may have been worried about range). What I thought he was planning to do was deploy the Electro Priests as a screen, but by infiltrating them in, outside his deployment zone. So I pushed up my scouts to restrict his ability to do that. 

My opponent got first turn, and by god those robots are horrendous. At the end of his shooting phase I think the only think I had on the board was my Warlord (who was hiding) a Cyber Wolf and the Shield Captains. Everything else had been blasted off the board. But, IMHO, he had made a mistake. Rather than bring the priests in to screen the ‘bots, he had pushed them forward to assault my scouts.... leaving just enough room for the Death Company to come down 9” away from the ‘bots.

And down they came along with some Scions. It was a high risk strategy - if I had missed the charge (not likely, but possible) it would have been all over. But the DC made the charge, as did Captain JumpSmash and Lemartes.  I killed some bots, and then managed to consolidate into the Kataphrons and one of the Dune Crawlers. Having brough the other one down to a few wounds with Scion Plasma, there wasn’t much to shot me next turn.

After the DC, JumpSmash and Lemartes got into the ‘bots, it was pretty much all over. 

Learning points - the Ad MEch ‘bots have horrendous fire power, but they are easily countered. Again, the importance of screens. If my opponent had been able to screeen his bots effectively, it would have ben a totally different game.

Game 6

So after 2 big wins I was up among the tops tabels again and of course came across one of the horrors that lurk around there. Death Guard, but this time with Epidemius, a huge blob of Plague Bearers, 2 units of the Flys, some other characters, some Nurglings and 5 Plague Burst Crawlers.

But most importantly - 2 of the Nurgle trees that make the whole list tick, allowing anything within 7” to fall back and still shoot or charge, and everthing to advance and shoot with no penalty.

So, my opponent deployed everything, using the nurglings to create some board control to stop my deep strikers. He also wrapped his Burst Crawlers in a double wrapping of plague bearers and Flys. However, I managed to use scouts to get some board control on the right of the board.... and I got first turn for the first time all tournament! 

So I tried to kill some Nurglings with 3 shield captains, 9 mortars 2 units of scouts and a unit of Scions ..... and failed! I then charge the death company into his screens ..... and bounced off! He jumped the flys over the plague bearers and started to take objectives and shoot a bit. I charged all 3 shield captains into a unit of flys .... and did 3 wounds!  You get the picture. 

Again, not being able to clear the Nurglings quickly didn’t help, and bouncing off the screens was a problem. To be fair I made a stupid mistake and forgot to trail a model back to Lemartes to get his re-roll to hit in assault buff. I might have killed more of the screen, but ultimately I doubt it would have made much of a difference. To be honest, of the three games I lost, this was the one where I doubt I could have done much else. It’s a rock hard list.

So next post, some post tournament thoughts and list analysis

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