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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Monday, October 4, 2010

Clubbing Baby Seals: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As you were all made aware earlier this weekend, GWvsJohn beat me hard on Vassal. I don't want to make excuses, I was beaten by a better list, but more importantly, a better general. I've said many times before, I'm very happy to embarrass myself for the greater good. There is very little point in posting batreps unless we break them down and look at how we can improve our game. Six to eight months ago, I would have just been frustrated at my poor performance and just hoped that I'd improve. Just like my day job (don't laugh Katie), you'll never learn from your mistakes unless you reflect.

UglyWhy "The good, the bad and the ugly" you ask? It's just as important to look at the positives as it is to learn from your mistakes.

This is the easiest part. I made many a mistake during the game, but very few were of massive *facepalm* proportions as my chosen ugly. The list. The only thing I'll say is GWvsJohn caught me a little unaware so the list was thrown together quickly, but that is not good enough, I should have put more effort into the list.

This is what I played with:

EC - AAC - 140
3x Dreadnought - TLLC, ML - 135
Crusader Squad (5) - Meltagun, PF - 105, Razor - TLLC - 90
2x Crusader Squad (5) - Meltagun, PF, Neophytex1 - 115, Razor - TLLC - 90
3x Speeder - MM/HF - 75
3x Pred Destructor - Las sponsons - 125
Total - 1750
So, a standard shooty BT list really, but with absolutely no finesse. No security (BT do not get smoke launchers as standard) and no psychic defence. As GW said, we spoke a little after the game on how to take the list up to the next level and I've had a few more thoughts over the weekend too. Psychic defence is a must. The dreadnoughts played a huge part in the game, but the stun rate was painful (for GWvsJohn more than me I expect, but still painful) and prevented me from locking units earlier. Many eleements didn't perform as well as they could have, but that was my fault not theirs. So, the new list. Some people may say AAC is not needed in this list, but with so little combat capability, I would argue it's needed even more so and was the only reason the EC was able plough through units like he did.

Emperor's Champion - Accept Any Challenge - 140
Brother Captain - Psychic Hood - 86
2x Dreadnought - T-L Lascannon, Missile Launcher, Extra Armour, Smoke Launchers, Searchlight - 144
1x Dreadnought - T-L Lascannon, DCCW, Extra Armour, Smoke Launchers - 133
2x Crusader Squad (5) - Meltagun, Neophytex1 - 100
1x Crusader Squad (5) - Meltagun - 90
3x Razorback - Twin-Linked Lascannon, Smoke Launchers - 93
2x Land Speeder - MM/HF - 75
3x Predator Destructor - Lascannon Sponsons, Smoke Launchers - 128
Total - 1750

The Brother Captain is obviously on foot and will need to be hidden until his combat prowess (ha ha) is required. His table-wide psychic hood adds far more than a single speeder MM in my opinion. On top of that, everything now has smoke launchers and the dreads are now more mobile and can shock'n'lock where they're needed. One has a DCCW for any units that may need a dread with a bit more CC punch.


So what went well? After realising my massive mistake of leaving my smoke at home, I had to do my best to protect my stuff from what was inevitably going to be a turn 2 drop and combat GWvsJohn's mobility. I won the roll and opted for 2nd. I think this was the best decision. Giving him 2nd turn would have provided him with a free turn to jump onto objectives and gave me an extra turn of shooting to whittle down his elite army.

When it was my turn to deploy I knew he would definitely be deep-striking. Looking through his list I had a think about how I would combat his multiple threats. The only thing I could really defend against were the VVs. With no ranged weaponry, they would definitely be heroic interventioning (although thinking back I don't think he declared it pre-drop - oh well). I set up my deep-strike defence castle then moved >6 " outwards to give me the opportunity to cruising speed into my castle. This would mean the Vets would be hitting on 6s and would be my only chance of surviving. It didn't work. One VV squad was out, the other Vet rocking a fist rolled 2 hits. F-you Vassal!

With regards to the melta squads I could do very little but pray for poor rolling on his part to take them outside of melta range (the praying did nothing). I chose to place my heavy armour up front which game me a small chance of surviving if he ended with MELTA and a really good chance of surviving if outside it. Lighter armour would probably be dead either way. Although the Librarian with Lance would be a problem if I castled, I needed to be reasonably tight so I could react to the drop and hurt those melta units before they started to rape my armour. This part worked reasonably well as I locked up multiple threats with my dreads, but the Libby did get one nice shot off (destroying a razorback, a speeder and stunning a dread).

As briefly mentioned, the plan to dreadlock worked well. This was in part because GWvsJohn has some pretty terrible hit/pen/damage rolls from his fists, but did demonstrate how great this tactic can be. If the dread that was stunned by the Libby hadn't have been, he would have been able to tie up the Libby's unit and would have allowed my razors to get away. Ho hum.

GW mentioned my late break for objectives. I felt at the time I was not going to be able to claim the South-East objective, so I had to break out to give me an opportunity of claiming one. His Libby and Sang guard made sure this wasn't going to happen, but I think it was a reasonable strategy. Had I piled in to try to overload him in the SE, his Sang guard would have joined the fight and easily tipped the balance back in his favour.


Where do I start?

Even after realising my huge mistake of not taking smoke, I didn't even consider reserving my whole force as an option. With no reserve manipulation this would probably have been a bad idea, but should certainly have been considered. It would have enabled GWvsJohn to jump in and hammer units wherever necessary, but would have possibly given me the option of claiming the SW objective late in the game. Anyway, think more BroLo.

The speeders should probably have been kept in reserve to hassle the objective squad, especially as they only had bolt pistols and krak grenades to hurt them. This may well have influenced GWvsJohn's very offensive deep-strike. The other option for them would have been sacrificial lambs for the melta squads. Either hit a speeder or shoot the pred with cover??

My castling needs a lot more thought. Once or twice I wanted to get some guys (mainly just the EC) out and counter assault, but the density of the 'deep-strike-defence-castle' just didn't allow this. It wasn't quite a parking lot (my usual problem) as all of the transports could move, but spacing of an extra inch would have been enough to allow flow of infantry.

I do not play the mission. I still don't really rememeber the order of the objective to be honest. I seem to immediately head for objectives and secondly go for my selected KPs. This is obviously very stupid as they may be the 3rd and 4th objectives for the missions. This type of mission type is new to me really (very few tournies here have Nova-style missions), but I do really like it. I just need to think about it more - Vassal doesn't help.

That's all I can think about at the moment, but I'm sure there is more. I'll add to it as I think them up. Anyway, hope that was useful.

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