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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

Friday, December 10, 2010

Practice Centurion Battle Report: Immo spam versus Mech Marines

Well kids, here we are. My first real-life game for a long time (I think I played one with Vince in August...); basically since Lords of Terra I've played diddly squat. Ironic no? Anyway, I've already practiced some for Centurion in helping play-test missions (mostly on Vassal) I'm starting my real 'training' now and hopefully get in 50+ games before Centurion ( Anyway, so today Vince came over (finally...) and we played a 1750 game using Game 5 rules from Centurion. Spearhead, 5 objectives, 5 KP, table quarters, VP being the order. Here are the army lists, both made by me.

Oh and I apologise before hand that some of the pics are blurry. I don't know why, I just suck at cameras and I wasn't going to make a Vid bat-rep. Maybe next time.

Mech Marines by Kirby:
Libby w/Null Zone, Avenger
3x Rifledread
2x5xTacs w/combi-flamer, LasPlas RBack
2x10x Tacs w/flamer, MM, combi-flamer, Rhino
3x1 Speeder w/MM/HF
3xDakka Pred w/HK

Immo Spam by Vince:
Palatine w/Book, 5x Celestians w/2x meltaguns, Immo
3x5x Celestians w/2x meltaguns, Immo
PCS w/3x flamers, Chimera
3xInfantry platoon w/AC, 2 Chimeras
3xHWT w/AC
3x5x IST w/2x meltagun
1x Immolator
2x Exorcist

I'd prefer 2 more immolators and HWT over the Exorcists in the WH list but Vince loves them and wanted to use them. Ironically they were a pain in the ass. So here's a picture of the table with objectives...

Shadows, oh the shadows! (the nice terrain is Vince's as mine is lost somewhere...)

I won first turn and deployed aggressively to force Vince back (allowing me to later fallback out of range of his autocannons) and to get early turn shots at the HWT. This is another reason why I feel the Exo's were better left at home as having 15 instant deathable autocannons means there's more to go around after the first turn salvo. However, because of the Exos I reserved two Speeders to drop down behind his lines if he didn't bubble-wrap and or disrupt the midfield if he did bubble-wrap. If he didn't have the Exo's I still would of reserved them but no deep-struck because of Spearhead. This would of enabled me to come in from my board edge and get close melta shots and thus support my right flank. Using the central hill, cover off to the side and my own tanks, I was able to generate cover for everything except a single Pred whose AV13 was protecting most of my force. This setup gave me excellent defense and mobility to 4 objectives.

Here you can see only the middle Pred is exposed but with minimal high strength weaponry, he is quite safe. The Rhino without a hatch is the 2nd RBack and the undercoated Dread on my right flank without a base is a Rifledread. 

Against a list with a lot of ordnance like IG or anti-castle abilities like Blood Lance this is a bad setup as he can hit multiple tanks at once. This is obviously a safe setup here as he only (only...) has meltaguns, autocannons and the Exorcist launchers. 

Vince set up a three pronged mech push to leave his firelanes open whilst his IG and exos crowded around a building with the objective in it. Some of his vehicles would be left open to fire without cover T1 if I moved correctly but I'd most have to focus on his AV12 rather than AV11. His Exorcists were hidden so they could move out T1 and shoot but I didn't really want to shoot them anyway. Potentially deploying them forward may have provided more increased AV to his tanks as my primary target was killing his HWT but they'd of been shot by lascannons and subject to lucky one-hit wonders. He didn't deploy the IG as bubble-wrap so they are more capable of forward movement and even though I deployed aggressively, so did he (rather than gaining as much cover as possible).

All the IG vehicles are Chimeras with the actual Chimera holding the PCS, the other two hold ISTs. The Black Templar ride contains the other ISTs whilst the Rhino/RBacks are Immolators w/Celestians. The actual Immolator contains the Palatine w/Celestians. You can see how his front tanks are exposed but he has kept his firelanes open and his Exorcists are hiding.

So first turn was going to be brutal...

With my die, he seized. Damn you dice you're supposed to be on my side!

Seizing works out perfectly for him. Not sure if he was hoping for it or what but with his aggressive stance he puts the pressure on me immediately and I don't have much time to fallback nor can I focus on his HWT unless I want 14 meltaguns to the face. With the seize he moves his mech up in a three pronged attack. This was both good and bad. Good because his firelanes stayed open and he got good board coverage and immediately put me on the defensive. He was also able to get front AV12 for each train. Bad because he left himself open to side shots on AV10 chimeras and popped 5 smokes. He only has his Exo's and autocannons to shoot but is unable to do much thanks to my good cover saves (for once); I saved 7/9 or something. The rhino on my right flank lost a stormbolter, the Pred armor also shrugged off quite a lot of damage and an Exorcist brought down the Speeder. One shot. One kill. (that's Vince's theme)

Blurry photo!

Here you can see his clearly developed fire lanes and three mini-mech trains but my Mech is still quite protected behind the hill.

So I weathered his storm rather well but his whole army is threatening me now, even with no fast vehicles in Spearhead. Insane lol. My battle-plan has completely changed as I don't really have the luxury of sending a bunch of S7 into the HWTs and slowing his mech in his deployment so my aggressive stance hasn't really paid off. I'm also right on the cusp of 48" of the autocannons where the hill is so I have the choice of moving backwards and limiting my firepower but removing his autocannon's ability to damage my central mech (but it can still get my right flank) or stay where I am and try and slow his mech. I chose the latter because of my push up the right flank wouldn't take them out of the game and would just leave me vulnerable to lots of melta. I pushed the dread and Rhino (which popped smoke) on the right as far as they could go which got the Dread side shots on the green chimera. My left flank involved moving a Pred, RBack and Dread into clearish firing lanes on Vince's middle mech-train (side shots on the Chimera and clear LoS to the Immolator behind).

I also bailed the Marine squad from the left Razorback out before it moved and they climbed over the hill to protect my static line. Whilst there were no grenades or combat weapons waiting to auto hit my vehicles, it would keep a bit of melta away. I fully expected them to die which would hurt my scoring ability but I needed to delay Vince somehow.

My shooting was both effective...and not. The left Predator fired everything it could at the middle chim's side armor and was able to immobilise it. Yay. The left Dread was able to draw clear LoS to the middle Immo at the back and stunned it. Yay. The two Razorbacks did...nothing on the left Chimera but the Dread on the right was able to both destroy it's multi-laser and immobilise it. Yay. The combined fire of the two remaining Preds was able to take down a Celestian Immolator on the right but they weren't pinned. My final Dread I opted to shoot at one of the HWTs as I had stopped 4/8 of his tanks. I killed one team member but they held.

The damaged vehicles slow their counterparts behind them except for the Black Templar Rhino...

Vince's offensive was blunted but he still has a lot of suppression fire going around and will still be able to bring to bear multiple meltas on me this turn. His mobile tanks trundle forward but don't empty anybody out. Only the Chimera (Bassilisk) on my right flank moves at a slow enough pace for a top hatch shot however. The disembarked Celestians moved towards the smoked Rhino on my right flank ready to put two point blank melta shots into it. He opened fire with them and...

wrecks it. The nearby meltagun from the tophatch also gets a long-ranged shot to drop the Dread. The combined firepower of the autocannons is able to also immobilise my Pred on the right flank. Multi-laser and heavy-flamer fire drops my 5 man squad in the middle to three men. Further autocannon firepower aimed at my middle Pred is useless but is able to drop the empty Razorback on the left. One Exorcist completely fluffs...but the other is able to exploit a mistake on my part and drop my Dread on the left (he was out too far and got pinged with no cover). Although I blunted his attack, Vince was able to come back and whack down three of my vehicles and both of my flanks in one turn. Ouch!

It heads to my turn 2 and one of my speeders comes in which deviates 6" safely behind Vince's lines to try and take out an Exorcist. Again, those Speeders would of been very useful coming in from my long board edge as they'd have a lot of targets with their effective 36" range (24" optimal) but I felt like the Exo's needed to go. My middle Marines moved forward to drop some template love on anyone I could get out of Immos/Chims or throw some kraks at some tans. My mech stayed relatively still again because of the pressure Vince's mech was putting on me. My disembarked 10 man squad moved around the Rhino wreck and over the see-through hill to double template the Celestians there (killing...two out of like 13 wounds) and get ready for a multi-charge if they didn't break. Time for the anti-tank shooting... my MM from my Tac squad in the centre whiffed (theme here)  and my Speeder MM...

Look at all those results on those tanks; shame no wrecks...oh and sneak peak what happens with the middle Chim!

assploded an Exo (explosions would become a theme). The left Razorback was able to take off the weapon of the left Immolator so the Pred attempted to finish the job and got an Immob result. The remaining Rifledread put a whopping three results onto the middle Immolator (Black Templar Rhino) but got an immobilised, weapon destroyed and stunned result. The two remaining Predators couldn't dent the armor of the left-over Chimeras in midfield and we moved to the assault phase. My centre Marines assault the immobilised Chimera and are able to wreck it (seen above) whilst my 10 man squad multi-assaults the Celestians who didn't run away and the Chimera which moved 6". 13 attacks into the Celestians did nothing (1 wound generated? and saved) whilst the 4 kraks explode the Chimera, killing two ISTs inside who were pinned, dropping three Marines (seriously, what?) and no Celestians. The Celestians then killed a further Marine who passed their break test with a handy 4. The ISTs didn't run away and the PCS from the Wrecked Chimera in midfield wasn't pinned either.

Get used to seeing those blue dice of craters...

Kraks ahoy! (oh I didn't...)

Another swing back in my favor as I was able to stop a further four tanks from moving (leaving him with two mobile tanks amongst my lines) but he still had the majority of his infantry left inside said tanks (army within an army!) as we start Turn 3. His actual Immolator moved up beside the immoblised Immolator in midfield and onto the centre objective to flame the Marines there. Unfortunately, the PCS had the same idea and there was a bit of cross-fire involved so not as many Marines were caught under templates (remember you cannot hit your own models with templates no matter how much you want to!). The remaining Immolator on my right flank also moved towards midfield behind the immoblised one. On my left side, the ISTs and Celestians hopped out of their transports with the Celestians high-tailing it towards my Predator and the ISTs moving towards the objective there. Vince's shooting only stunned my Speeder after two autocannon squads and the remaining Exorcist shot it (lucky!) but was unable to do anymore damage with the remaining autocannons. His Celestians on the left flank however had fun with their meltaguns and exploded the Predator right in front of them. One Celestian perished.

See what I mean with those blue dice?

How pretty does Vince's Immo look?

The combined fire and follow-up assault from the PCS and central Immolator took down the Marines in midfield and the PCS consolidated behind the hill. The combat continued on the right as the Marines hacked down one Celestian but they remained locked which was annoying!

I was again being threatened on multiple fronts with three squads out of their transports with meltaguns (plus the PCS) and not in combat and two more squads hiding in still mobile transports. I was still stuck in my corner as well other than my diminished 10 man Tactical squad who was currently locked in combat so I needed to bust out and put pressure on Vince's flanks. Solo-libby time! The libby jumped out of his Razorback ride and ran towards the Celestians which had just shot up the left Predator and my remaining Rifledread manoeuvred for better firing position behind my tank wall. Oh also, my final speeder came in but had a mishap when it deviated...and was delayed. Phew. My shooting wasn't quite as effective this turn but the Rifledread was able to wreck the Immolator sheltering the ISTs on the left. Both the LasPlas and the Tac MM (another whiff) failed to damage anything whilst the centre Pred fired point blank into the mobile Immolator and shook it. The immobilised Pred on the right was able to take down two of the PCS but they held. Libby also cast Null Zone because Avenger would of been blocked by that silly faith thing and they'd of gotten their invuls so I would at least be likely to kill things in combat with his force weapon... In hindsight here I should of shot my Predator in the centre at the ISTs in the crater. It's what they were designed for but silly me.

How many tanks are there!??!

In combat my Libby was able to kill one Celestian but they held and my 10 man-tac squad was able to finally wipe out the remaining Celestians on the right. The Marines consolidated to the right to gain some cover from the wreck and look to hold the objective there (the ripper swarm; you know, genetic testing and all?). My right flank was finally clear but the left flank and centre were still anybody's and if Vince moves his infantry blob in as support, I could be in for some trouble as I don't have the firepower to deal with those bodies.

Isn't he normally on a bike? Not today! (but he sure wants it back)

Both armies are starting weaken and it's only Turn 4 but still have the firepower to knock stuff out (waves to the 11 autocannons). The centre Immolator moved towards my tank wall and dropped the Celestians + Palatine off for some melta fun whilst the other mobile Immolator dropped its girls off (which moved towards my tank wall as well) and then moved back towards my Tactical squad to flame them. The ISTs in the crater also moved towards my tank wall but aimed at the Predator which was all alone. The PCS moved around the central hill to go help out the Celestians duking it out in combat with the Libby whilst the remaining ISTs still hid behind the wrecked Immolator on the left. Vince's first autocannon volley felled my Speeder but his ranged shoot was unable to reliably hit from this point so didn't do much damage. His meltaguns did however. The IST squad took off the immobilised Predators autocannon whilst the combined fire of the Celestians exploded the final Predator which killed one of the Celestians from the furthest squad. The Immolator on the right was also able to drop a Marine but they didn't flee thankfully. The PCS joined in the assault on the Libby who couldn't do any damage and suffered a wound in return. Combat stayed (no pics here sorry!).

Vince had deployed all of his forces now whilst I still had two squads in transports. Time to use that advantage whilst I could. I finally moved my tank wall just a little bit by squeezing the Rhino onto the hill slope to get some double flamer action going. Dreadnought and Razorback angle themselves for shots on the exposed Immolator in front of my lines or if necessary, to bleed some infantry. My Speeder also turned up this turn and hits bang on target, hits with his MM and...rolls a 4 to pen against front armor!!! My Rhino double templates the Celestian + Palatine squad and despite taking 12 hits, only lose two girls. My Rifledread follows up with an explosion upon the Immolator in front of the wall of fire (in picture it's the crater and replaces the Immobilised Black Templar Rhino, so confusing I know!). The explosion kills no one... The LasPlas then fires at the Celestians + Palatine and although I forgot Null Zone, all 3 shots are true and kill an invulernable Celestian (and the Palatine falls, too) leaving one meltagunner remaining. My remaining Pred fires the Heavy Bolter into the ISTs in front of it but is only able to bring down one.

All of the pass their morale checks and my other Tacticals assault the Immolator...

and stun it? Wow go them. The Libby kills an Imperial Guardsmen but takes nothing in return and both squads hold.

Battlefield overview...

Vince's turn 5 is a doozy of explosion goodness. The ISTs near the Pred run away into the safety of the immobilised Immolator whilst the remaining Celestian squads move towards my two remaining transports with meltaguns armed and ready. Another volley of autocannon shells sees my final Speeder fall and a lot of firepower goes into the Tacticals assaulting the Immolator and although they lose one, they hold (seen in picture above) to immobilise the Immolator during the next combat phase. The lone Celestian lets rip with her meltagun and explodes the LasPlas RBack followed up by the remaining Celestians who cause a massive explosion of the Rhino (see what I mean with explosions, that area is just one massive crater now) which kills one of the Tacticals inside the Rhino, one of the Tacticals from the 5 man squad, a Celestian from the squad who shot, the PCS commander and a Celestian from the squad in combat with the Libby. Everyone holds fine and dandy and the Libby then finishes the job and runs off towards the ISTs hiding behind the wrecks on the left. No picture here again sorry.

I don't have much to do now! My remaining Tactical squads move towards the objectives (big squad towards centre, small squad towards backfield objective and diminished 10 man squad to the far objective on the right but gets ready for another assault on the immobilised Immo). The Dread moved across the objective to try and get some better shooting angles whilst the Libby continued towards the ISTs. He got there and cast Avenger on them, killing 4. The Rifledread was able to explode the immobilised Immolator in midfield killing one of the ISTs inside and one of the Celestians (leaving one of each). The small Tactical squad inflicted 4 bolter wounds on the lone Celestian which took at the Razorback and she passed them all. Finally some Ld failure would happen as the two lone IST squads broke and were never to come back being under 50%. The large tactical squad in the middle (which had opted not to shoot) then assaulted one of the single Celestians, killed her and consolidated towards the middle whilst the Marines on the right dropped the immobilised Immolator.

Look at the size of that thing! (the crater...)

All gone!

T6 is the first turn the game can end in Centurion so it's break time! The Marines on the right were hugging the  Immolator wrecks for all they were worth and it paid off as Vince wasn't able to get much firepower into them. They also went to ground for 3+ cover against the Exorcist and only one Marine died but they passed morale. The lone Celestian moved over the Landspeeder wreck and wrecked the final Dreadnought and was on the objective to contest whilst the large infantry platoon hauled it's arse into movement and tried to make for as many objectives as possible (but only ran 2"). The rest of the autocannons fire upon the Tacticals in midfield who broke (!) but they didn't run far, auto-rallied (net loss of 2") and then moved 6" during my turn to sit on the objective. My libby ran around like a maniac but wasn't going to be able to do anything whilst my small remaining Tac squad put another 3 pistol wounds into the Celestian who passed them all and then assaulted her...and finally killed her. Phew! ...and then there was Turn 7!

Hug the cover, hug the cover!

Once again the Infantry platoon ran forward and was able to make it within 3" of the centre objective and a lot of fire went into the Marines in the middle who broke in a timely fashion and fleed a meagre distance. The Infantry platoon was out of range of assault to the other Tactical squad and not within 6" of the middle squad so it was my turn. The middle Marines auto-rallied, turned around and marched back onto the middle objective and the game ended even though the Libby was within range of assault (he'd of

In the end it's a Mech Marine win, 2 objectives to 1 as primary; 5-4 KP to Witchunters, 3-1 table quarters to SM and 522.5-360 VP to WH so a very close win and an excellent example at how flexible this type of missions is and the importance of playing to the primary. The game went back and forth a lot and really highlights the ability of good armies to keep recovering and adapting and was quite fun to play. The dice were probably average acorss the course of the game but had ups and downs for both of us which made the back and forth nature of the game even more apparent. With both of my flank pushses failing early after Vince seized it really looked over as I was backed into a corner but Marine statlines came through in the end by sticking around and not dying too easily once outside of transports.
Anyway, a great game Vince and hopefully get some more in next week (and with some other people)! Let's hear others thoughts and if Vince could put his 2c in that would be great.

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