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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, February 21, 2011

Kirby versus Taak: Centurion Battle Report (Tyranids and Space Wolves)

The long awaited battle report. Taak v Kirby. The obnoxious, capslock windbag versus that pink blob of a gender confused ball. ‘Zoo Keeper’ against Psychologist. Space Wolves versus Tyranids. A kitbash of models owned and borrowed up against a mostly pretty army with custom bases. The stage is set. And this is getting silly. Lists will be in comments at end.

Anyway most of you know Taak and I played this week for Centurion practice. I needed games against Space Wolves and he was happy to oblige. We rolled up mission...well I can’t remember what number but it was Dawn of War deployment with victory conditions as follows: table quarters -> objectives -> kill points -> victory points. I won the roll-off and elected to go first and deployed my Prime and Tervigons in the centre of the board behind BLoS terrain so Taak could only see them at extreme angles. Taak deployed a Rhino with Grey Hunters and his Rune Priest to counter my early psychic tests and failed to seize. No reserves (Taak should have reserved his speeders). Kill points were chosen as thus: 3 Hive Guard, 2 Tervigons & 3 Speeders, 2 Long Fang squads.

Tyranid Turn 1:

Was boring as you’d expect in DoW. Everything moved on and ran. My Tervigons stayed pat and spawned gants (15 and 11) with one going flat. Both of these Termagant squads moved forward with one gaining cover in the central building and the other in the ruins to the right. The right side was loaded with two ravener and hive guard squads whilst one t-fex, a termagant squad and the prime went down the middle and the remaining t-fex, hive guard and termagant squad went down the left flank.

I forgot to cast catalyst on my gants (though the Priest was in range) which wasn’t a biggie but annoying.

Space Wolf Turn 1:

This turn took forever. I mean forever. I think Taak took 40+ minutes to move on. Anyway, he moved on in what was essentially a line spread out across the field. Each of his long fangs moved into ruins in the middle and on both flanks though difficult terrain and distance meant the long fangs on the right couldn’t see this turn (he should have moved them into the open or used his tanks for protection). Most of his LasPlas moved only 6” to shoot ranged lascannon shots whilst his remaining two Rhinos moved forward 12” and popped smoke. One LasPlas on the left flank moved a full 12” and also popped smoke. He then opened fire his Rune Priest Rhino (casting Murderous Hurricane) and LasPlas RBacks on the two spawned Gant squads (it was unlikely he would have range on anything else due to night fight). A handful of gants from each squad died and it became my Turn 2. (oh also one of his speeders flat out immobilised itself; nice)

Taak made a mistake which would cost him throughout the game. He complains a lot about the terrain but this mostly stems from his deployment. He spread out to most likely gain as much LoS as possible to the majority of my army but by doing this he also exposed himself to all of my firepower. He outranged me by a significant margin and should of used that his advantage. I’d of done 1 of two things. Either completely refuse flank me and deploy on my right (my right had more stuff on it but it also had the best fields of fire) or create two fire bases on the left and right and either force me to split my forces or commit to one side. Normally I’d of done a complete refuse flank but because the mission was table quarters this would of been a risky move. As it was Taak had a lot of issues bringing his full firepower to bear against the majority of my army for most of the game which left me with a lot of MCs with a couple of wounds but rarely were they truly threatened. This was heightened by each of my suppression units being able to quite reliably quiet a tank a turn.

Tyranid Turn 2:

I moved...forward once again. This is pretty awesome Tyranid tactics I must say. My remaining Tervigon spawned 13 more gants and expired as well. My army was set! I moved both sets of Hive Guard on the right flank more central and behind the center piece of terrain to hide whilst the two initially spawned gant squads moved forward (murderous hurricane killed 3). I was going to be out of assault range with the central gants so I prepared to take the extra turn of LF fire and strung them out so they stayed in cover. Catalyst was cast on the central gants. My spawned gants were both threatening his Long Fangs next turn so were a pretty high priority target to hit but at the same time all of my Hive Guard were in range and moving into better firing positions whilst my Raveners were gearing up for assaults in 1-2 turns depending upon run rolls. A lot of pressure was being placed on Taak early (<3 DoW...).

My shooting wasn’t too bad and provided some much needed suppression. My central T-Fex was able to drop his central LasPlas, my T-Fex in the bastion on the left was able to immobilise one of his Rhinos even through smoke whilst I also stunned and immobilised one of his LasPlas on the right flank with a Hive Guard squad. The combined fire of some gants and Hive Guard dropped a missile fang from each of the LF squads in the center and on the left flank.

Space Wolves Turn 2:

Another slow turn and yet nothing really happened. Both speeders pushed up their respective flanks whilst the lasplas RBacks on the right didn’t move at all. The Fangs on the right moved so they could actually see the battlefield whilst the mobile Rhino without the Rune Priest in it tank shocked through my gant line in the middle to attempt to slow my MC advance down. His LasPlas RBacks on the left re-shuffled for better firing positions.

His shooting once again took down some gants from the front squads as well as putting some wounds on the Raveners on the left (lascannons/missile launchers missed or were saved). The Speeder on the right flank was able to drop several gants with its Heavy Flamer and that’s about it. The Rune Priest also periled on double 6’s <3.

No pictures for this phase as we had to head to lunch at this point (shop closes).

Tyranid Turn 3: 

I’d basically crossed midfield and was relatively unscathed. Although I wasn’t spawning any more gants they’d absorbed quite a bit of firepower and my MCs, Raveners and Hive Guard were all pretty much at full capacity in terms of damage potential. Oh goodie. I moved my Tervigons out from the cover of the building and move one up each flank to support the gant units there. The two hive Guard squads in the middle of the board take their place behind the building. All of my Ravener units move forward with the left flank Raveners moving into assault range of the Long Fangs there and the two squads on the right lining up assaults on the exposed Speeder. The central T-Fex joined the Tervigon who has gone on the left side of the building to play tag with the Rhino in midfield whilst the Prime joins one of the Gant units and moves into position to assault the Long Fangs in the centre of the board. The two gant squads on the right flank move forward to potentially assault the Long Fangs there as well.

As we can see most of my army is setting up for assaults on juicy targets (i.e. the fangs) because Taak has spread out. I’m also not really bothered by his vehicles (one) as they aren’t in my lines forcing me to assault them or go around them and if I did hit his vehicle lines, well they haven’t moved. Shooting time... My central T-Fex tried to bring down the Rhino in front of him to munch on the gooey insides but despite two pens, was only able to immobilise it. The Hive Guard on the left were able to take a weapon off and stun the speeder on the left whilst the left T-Fex immobilised and stunned the left most RBack. The centre Hive Guard took out the immobilised Rhino and whiffed against the right-most speeder.

The anticipated assault phase! The two gant squads on right make it into assault with fangs and flub most of their attacks and kill one Fang. Outside of Synapse and after losing a handful of gants, one squad flees and the other squad...stays (go them). The Raveners on the right managed to the stun the speeder in combat whilst the Raveners on the left flank failed to make it to combat (I needed a 4 on 3D6 and got 2, 2, 3 ). The central T-Fex and Tervigon roll into the immobilised Rhino in midfield and wreck it whilst the Termgants + Prime get into combat with the central long fangs. The Prime doesn’t make base to base. The gants are able to kill two Fangs but lose most of their number in return after fearless saves (which also takes the Prime down to 1 wound).

Space Wolves Turn 3: 

Things could of been much worse for Taak as he still has four lasplas fully mobile as well as his Rhino Rune Priest squad. Instead of re-mobilising however he stays put... The Rune Priest Rhino squad moves into midfield where the T-Fex and Tervigon are whilst the disembarked Wolf Guard squad from the wrecked Rhino sets up some shots on the T-Fex. The disembarked Grey Hunter squad from the wrecked Rhino in Taak’s backfield and squad from the initial RBack destruction move up to support the Long Fangs in combat whilst the Wolf Guard squad from the immobilised RBack on the left flank hop out to threaten the Raveners who didn’t make it to combat.

In the shooting phase Taak does minimal. Between the Grey Hunters and Wolf Guard in midfield he’s able to drop two wounds from the T-Fex whilst on the left flank the Raveners are wiped out. On the right the LasPlas Razors aren’t able to do much and drop a Ravener.

In the combat phase the Prime is able to wipe out the LF squad in the middle whilst his gant bodyguard dies. He survives though and remains engaged with a newly charged Grey Hunter unit. On the right the Long fangs wiped out the gants and consolidate up to the top level of the ruins whilst the Wolf guard in the centre charge the T-Fex (his RP squad wanted to charge but his Rhino moved). The Raveners in base to base with the Land Speeder immobilised it but were unable to do anything else.

Tyranid Turn 4: 

The right Tervigon cast Dominion which brought the Termagants fleeing back into Synapse. Both the Hive Guard and T-Fex on the left passed their instinctive behaviour checks and went about their business. The T-Fex clambered down from the basitone whilst the gants on that side moved forward to help out in the central combat. The central Tervigon clambered over the wrecked Rhino (wounding itself) whilst the Raveners on the right moved up to engage the static tanks and long fangs.

During the shooting phase both speeders were again stun-locked (though they are both immobilised at this point) by Hive Guard. The central most RBackon the right flank was stunned and had it’s plasma gun blown off and the combined fire of the Gants was able to bring down a couple of GH from the Rune Priest squad.
In the assault phase the Prime held his ground and killed a couple of Grey Hunters who also held whilst the Tervigon and gants in the centre assaulted the Rune Priest squad (the Tervigon wounded himself on the Rhino again). Most of the gants were killed (and the Tervigon wounded; down to 3) but only two Grey hunters remained as the Rune priest and his pals were squished. The T-Fex added a kill of his own and the Space Wolves held. On the right the Raveners assaulted the Long Fangs in the ruins and the stationary tank line. The Long fangs were down to a single man and dealt two wounds back to the Raveners. The Long Fang held whilst one of the RBacks exploded and the other was unscratched.

Space Wolves Turn 4:

Taak didn’t have many options left now. His Wolf Guard on the left flank moved up to assault my T-Fex... whilst the remaining Grey Hunters in midfield moved to engage my free Tervigon. The units inside of the remaining Razorbacks on the right hopped out to try and remove the Raveners and that was about it.
During shooting Taak took down a Ravener and a wound off one of the Hive Guard and Tervigon on the right whilst also dropping some Gants from the squad there, too. The Wolf Guard on the left charged the T-Fex and were unable to wound it, losing one of their number in return. He held. The central combat finished as the Tervigon and T-Fex smushed their opposition but not before another Termagant died and another wound was taken off the Tervigon (1 left). The Raveners on the right finished off the Long fangs and consolidated towards Taaks’ line whilst the Ravener in combat with the RBack scribbled at the paintwork. The remaining GH squad charged the Tervigon but were unable to wound it and lost one of their own. The Prime killed a few more Grey Hunters and survived their hits back. Combat continued.

Tyranid Turn 5: 

Both the Ravener squads on the right moved to set up new charges whilst the Gant squad there huddled around the objective whilst also providing scoring weight to that corner. The central Tervigon and T-Fex move up to threaten the left flank next turn whilst the Termagant squad hid. The Hive Guard moved around to position themselves for the best firing opportunities.

During the shooting phase both of the speeders were finally brought down but little else happened. In the assault phase the Raveners charged again and were unable to do anything to either of the stationary tanks and flubbed all their attacks on the Wolf Guard who failed to harm them back. The Prime was finally taken down in combat leaving two Grey Hunters whilst the T-Fex freed himself from combat on the left and the Tervigon smacked another GH to the ground.

Space Wolves Turn 5:

Less and less for Taak to do! The mobile Rhino from the Rune Priest forced me to keep honest by moving his Rhino into my backfield (a lone gant is less worth than a Rhino! Luckily I have Hive Guard). His surviving Long Fangs and LasPlas RBacks on the left lined up shots on the Tervigon along with the mobile GH to attempt to bring it down whilst the weapon destroyed RBack on the right flank did the same. The combined firepower was enough to drop the two wound Tervigon to the dirt and also drop two more wounds off the T-Fex. The remaining RBack on the right killed off a Ravener with its lascannon.

In combat the Tervigon polished off the Wolf Guard in combat and snuggled up to the building on his left.

Tyranid Turn 6:

It’d been mop up time for a while but now it really felt like it. The T-Fexes and Hive Guard (all essentially at full strength) moved to better firing positions and dropped the two RBacks on the left flank and stunning the Rhino in midfield. The central T-Fex charged the remaining Grey Hunters and killed them both whilst again the Raveners only scratched paint.

Space Wolves Turn 6:
With only a Rhino, 2x RBack and a LF squad remaining, there wasn’t much Taak could do at this point. His LF shot at the Termagants on the right to try and remove a scoring unit but one remaining after the smoke cleared. His RBack on the right dropped another Ravener and the game die allowed a Turn 7.

Tyranid Turn 7:

Once again everything wiggled around for better shots. The T-fexes both moved towards the LF squad and killed them with mass anti-infantry firepower whilst the Hive Guard and Raveners attempted to bring down the remaining tanks. The Rhino was exploded in midfield but the weaponless RBack was only immobilised and the fully functional RBack wasn’t scratched (again; it’s leading a damned charmed life!).

Space Wolves Turn 7:

Taak attempted to kill the final Ravener with his LasPlas but failed and the game ended there with 4 Table Quarters owned by me, three objectives, and 5KP to 2KP. Kirby victory!

Post-game analysis:

Taak’s deployment cost him the game. He was never able to bring all of his fire to bear on what he should have been firing upon. Late game when my MCs were finally in LoS of both of his firebases (i.e. I had broken his lines) he was able to combine his firepower and drop a Tervigon but by then it was too late. Also having all of my firepower units (HG and T-Fexes) fully functional until T7 allowed me to continually dictate the course of the battle as I was able to suppress at least half of his firepower most turns.

Taak didn’t take advantage of his Rhinos/Grey Hunter units either. By deploying them in a line and with only two squads forward, they were pretty easy pickings. This is part of the issue I have with the list as well and why GH should be in Rhinos. Most of the time he had to hop them out to affect the course of the game and without any counter charging TWC, my MCs were happy to engage in combat. If I’d had a more difficult time breaking into Taak’s tank line I wouldn’t of been able to access his Long fangs so easily and cut a lot of his firepower down.

*finger swings to me* I played just a bit too defensively with me Tervigons I think. If I’d pushed them out a turn earlier I’d of had Taak more on the back foot and he wouldn’t of been able to focus on my Raveners for a turn. Whilst some so-so rolling on his part helped me out, I could of easily have had my initial attack blunted and my MCs exposed. Keeping my Hive Guard in range of his army all game and ensuring they were only in LoS for half of his army helped me suppress his armor which was key to me advancing quickly.

Particularly since Taak didn’t deploy GH screens or have many Rhinos my gants were able to be very aggressive and whilst I lost a lot, they were able to tie down his firepower quite a bit and allow the rest of my army to advance. In an objective primary mission this would of been more risky but it paid off.

Anyway, there’s the bat rep guys! Sorry it took so long but luckily Vince bailed on me today (again) and I was able to write this up whilst I painted. Comment away.

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