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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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

VASSAL Battle Report: BA vs SW

Trying out some builds for my new army, I had a chance to play earlier against Comrade_Cowboy, a gentleman of the Auslander persuasion and hanger-about of 3++'s chatbawks, as I'm sure many of you know.

My army:
Blood Angels, 1750 pts
1 Librarian (Terminator, Storm Shield; Shield, Sword)
10 Terminators (2 Cyclone, 2 Chainfist)
10 Terminators (2 Cyclone, 2 Chainfist)
2 Sanguinary Priests (1 Terminator, 1 Jump Pack + Power Weapon)
10 ASM (2 Meltagun, Infernus, Power Fist)
10 ASM (2 Meltagun, Infernus, Power Fist)

This is a slightly middle-of-the-road version of the 2K/1.5K army I've been playing around with. It drops a ton of dudes with high resistance to firepower on the table and just moves forward, spitting out shots. It isn't fast, but the ASM give it some flexibility and it's extremely resilient. Librarian has Shield because it's a default power; I'll probably be switching to something else, but I'm not really sure what yet. Perhaps Lance, or Unleash Rage? The latter would help out a bit in CC, but doesn't mix well with Sword, the former would give me a better way to hurt tanks. Hrm, perhaps Wings? Having that 12" zoom available could be interesting.

His army
Space Wolves 1750
1 Rune Priest (Chooser; Lightning, Hurricane)
7 Wolf Guard (each with Fist and Combi-Melta)
5 Scouts (Meltagun)
5 Scouts (Meltagun)
5 GH (Melta, Standard; LasPlas Razor)
5 GH (Melta, Standard; LasPlas Razor)
7(?) GH (Melta, Standard; Rhino)
8(?) GH (Melta, Standard; Rhino)
8(?) GH (Melta, Standard; Rhino)
5 Long Fangs (4 Missile, Flamer)
5 Long Fangs (4 Missile, Flamer)
5 Long Fangs (4 Missile, Flamer)

Pretty standard SW list, although heavy on the troops. I don't like the Standards in small squads, I don't think it's a good use of points- better to take HKMs, Mark of Wulfen, or something else. Due to Terminator presence he can't really direct a lot of firepower at me effectively, with only the LasPlas actually punching through them. His Wolf Scouts are likewise going to be pretty underwhelming in this match since he doesn't really have anything to ambush.

We roll up kill points for the mission, which is good for me, and pitched battle, which is meh. Table is a little bit terrain-heavy, but not majorly so. I win first turn and elect to deploy first.

Possible mistake number one? Terminators are slow as crap, so I'm gonna have to walk across the whole board here. However, I'm very leery of Deep Striking Termies when I don't have to and I'm basically immune to his guns outside of 12", so it's really just a clock to make sure that I can get to the other side of the table. On the other hand, going second lets me see where he's going to be and deploy as close as I can to him, and my immunity to his firepower means losing the alpha strike is pretty much irrelevant.

I bunch lay my guys roughly into the center of the board, ASM behind Terminators, Libby in the center. This gives me as much ability to close with him as possible while still maintaining cover for all my units as well as FNP bubbles.

Possible mistake number two? I Combat Squad my Terminators to be able to apply firepower more effectively and send them after units as necessary; this admittedly does increase my KP count, but being at a major advantage there, I'm not really too worried. I am fairly sure this is correct, however it ended up coming back to bite me, as we'll eventually see here.

Comrade reserves both Scouts and splits the rest of his deployment, putting two Long Fangs on the right and the rest of his forces mostly in the middle. He's a bit incautious in putting his Long Fangs a bit too far forward- this doesn't end up hurting him, but I very nearly end up getting an early-game charge on his Fangs due to this. I think his split was a good choice, although having very little AP2 means he can only punish me for it moderately. He also doesn't push back as much as I think he should've, but then again maybe with his AP3 shooting that's not necessarily doing it wrong, as he's roughly in position to get off charges as I move in.

With both of us deployed, Comrade succeeds in seizing- annoying, but not really all that dangerous. We go to first turn.

Comrade opens up with some missiles, the first squad on Frag, but quickly realizes that the chances of this actually hurting my guys is next to zero, so switches to Krak and takes out a couple of ASM.

(Pic taken before I moved T1, sorry.) My units all push forward, the ASM running 2" and 1" to insure they don't get any good charges early on. My shooting is likewise fairly minimal, but I do Immobilize the Rhino with the Priest in it. -_- Yeah, super. I pass the turn back.

Comrade gets one squad of Scouts in and brings them in from the left, backing up his Long Fangs. Tanks shuffle around a little bit and one Rhino pops smoke. Missiles and Las open up again, with the Missiles managing to kill quite a few ASM (I failed six saves on them this turn), but I succeed morale, so it's okay. Another quick turn and he passes back to me.

My ASM rush forward while the Terminators continue their grind forward. Perhaps I should be running more? Dunno. In any case, I know I will at least have some shots and charges this turn. ASM on the left open up with Melta and... completely fail to do anything. Jeez, guys, come on, get with the program. This is unfortunate, as I really wanted to get stuck in with some of his troops there, but them's the breaks, I suppose. Melta on the right does better, taking out two of his Long Fangs (after having killed the Leader last turn with a Cyclone shot.) Some more random Cyclone shots do nothing of particular note, taking out another sarge on the right side and little else. I go into my charges and hit the parked Razorback in front of the ASM, which was stationary; unfortunately everything else is out of range, so I don't even try for a multicharge. I hammer it with my attacks and end up exploding it, killing off one guy of his with the blast (I believe) and leaving me right in front of him. Hrm.

Possible mistake number three: I ended up dropping the ASM right in the middle of his forces and eating a bunch of charges. My plan was to bait out his squads so I could charge them in turn, but I think it ended up backfiring on me here, as I was about a turn too early. Probably should've held back a little longer.

Comrade gets his other Scout squad and is forced to bring them in on the right side, which isn't terrible as he gets them to back up his Fangs over there. His Scouts on the left push in to get shots and his whole left side opens up on my ASM there, doing a fair bit of damage as I'm only getting cover against some of the shots- I end up taking ~4 casualties, which hurts, but still leaves me with the Fist, a couple dudes, and my Priest. More shooting on the right side ASM kills two more of them, but I still have a decent complement, so I'm not super-worried, especially with the Terminators coming to back them up. As expected, the Hunters that were inside the Razor a second ago charge me, but he forgoes bringing the Scouts in to help them- a mistake, I think, as he had the option (only used Meltaguns to shoot) and had a very good chance of getting to get stuck in thanks to Move Through Cover, but for whatever reason he doesn't do it. His charge kills off most all of the squad but fails to bring down the Priest, with my Fist and his finishing off most everything at the end- he has two dudes left, I have just the Priest. We stay stuck in and the turn goes over to me.

My Terminators continue their advance, moving up through the ruins on the left and through the passage in the center- at this point I can basically bring one squad to bear next turn and the others the turn after that- or sooner, if he decides to come to me. My Priest is, unfortunately, a bit behind right now, but he'll be in range next turn and I don't want to give up the shooting from my Cyclonesand such, so I decide not to Run his squad. Shooting on the left does very little, as I continue to shake and stun vehicles uselessly, but I do manage to bring down another Fang on the right side at least. My remaining ASM charge his small LF squad, eliminating them and consolidating behind the wall so they have cover against his Meltaguns/Missiles and maximum reach. Combat with the Priest on the left stays even, as I shrug off his normal atacks, kill another dude, and he misses with the Fist (nice). I pass the turn back to him.

...And he decides to go nuts on me. A squad of dudes piles out of a Rhino and moves in towards my Terminators in the ruins while his Priest and friends get out of their Rhino in order to be able to shoot. There is some more ineffectual shooting and he tries to set off Murderous Hurricane on my Libby, but instead bonks himself with a Perils. Which is good, because dangerous terrain sucks for Terminators. He then charges his squad of mans into my Terminators, and I'm pretty okay with this. I mean, five Termies against eight dorks and a PFist? I can take that, right? Yeah no, apparently not. My Sarge kills one guy off and he does okay and gets six wounds on me. I lay them all out, making sure there's only one on the Cyclone (since I still need that thing) and... fail four of them. Including two on the dorks. So I'm left with nothing but the sarge, who immediately eats a Power Fist. What. The. Fuck. No, okay, this is fine, because I still have two squads of Terminators right behind them, you see, and so I'll be getting a charge off on my turn. Ha ha yeah it doesn't end up working that way. The Priest kills off one more guy before taking a Fist in the face and dying, leaving a single Wolf Guard alive from that squad. Cute.

Alright, so a little chastened by the dice gods, I go into this turn still looking okay. Not great, but the battle is still well in hand. On the right my ASM move to engage his Scouts- I figure my Terminators can handle the Long Fangs, although a charge is looking iffy, simple shooting will probably do the trick. On the left, Libby + Terminators prepare to get stuck in with the other squad right behind them. I do some cursory shooting and go for my charges. I put up Sword on the Libby, but it's canceled, no surprise there. We swing and... one from Libby, one from Sarge. Well, not bad, could be worse. He swings back, seven wounds. With Counterattack that's not really a surprise. I lay out my saves as before and... christ, again? Seriously? I lose four guys this time around as well, leaving only the Libby and the sarge. This is pretty much where the game went downhill for me- losing two Combat Squads in a row to shitty, shitty armor save rolls (seriously, less than 1% chance on each of those rolls) really broke the back of my plan. I don't like to blame things on bad luck, but sometimes the dice turn against and there's very little you can do about it- this is especially true for Terminator armies and others that are reliant on a small number of models (Land Raiders, Stormravens, etc.) Elsewhere on the table things are less awful as my ASM kill off most of his Scouts and take a couple casualties from the Fist, leaving us with two and two. Oh, and his Fangs over there failed a Morale test after being shot and decided that discretion was the better part of valor; they scoot off the table the following turn thanks to enemy within 6".

AT this point, things are looking bad for me. I still have two Terminator squads, but facing vastly superior numbers of Grey Hunters, I'm very unsure I'll be able to take him. I can aim to try and snatch up the remaining "easy" kill points, but he's being smart and not letting me do that. Some more GH disembark and their Rhino speeds down to get in my way- not really enough, though, as he realistically needed a second one to keep me out of the fight. His lone Wolf Guard hops into an empty Rhino and spends the rest of the game enjoying the A/C there, safe and secure. More guys flood into the fight with my Librarian, quickly swamping them with dudes, and his remaining units pip away at my other squad some more, but can't really break 2+/FNP. He attempts to Murderous Hurricane and rolls a '1' on the to-hit roll (thanks to the crappy new FAQ), which saves my bacon a second time in a row. Charges and CC happen pretty quickly- I get a bit luckier this time and he isn't able to bring many guys in contact with the Libby, limiting the damage he can do; a whole lot of attacks pour into my Sarge and he gets cut down, with the Libby doing one more casualty back to tie the combat. The ASM... suck it pretty hard and actually die to the Scouts and their Fist, although they manage to bring them down to only a single member left.

I move my last "real" Terminator squad, with attached Priest, forward around his Rhino, carefully avoiding any difficult terrain, as getting max distance this turn is going to be key. On the far right, my other squad comes in to murder his lone Scout and at least claim that KP while I can. (He realized too late that he consolidated the wrong way, but it was unlikely to have mattered with Storm Bolters and Cyclone there.) I summarily execute his Scout and charge in on the left. Being tricky, I manage to get four guys in and the Priest plus one on his tank (and everyone in range of FNP, including the Libby.) Swings go off and I do a lot better this time, managing to get Sword and murder a fair number of guys while shrugging off most of my wounds, although I lose one man. No damage to the Rhino, unfortunately, but I win the fight and he breaks with two guys, who are still within 6" of me after consolidating. However, with the Libby unattached and very few models left, things are looking shifty. We continue to turn 6 after a roll of the dice.

[Turn 6a picture is missing, sorry.]

Things go sorta how I'd expect- both his big squads close in on me and charge and his broken squad move 8", which is just a hair short of the edge of the board, dang it. Charges happen, standards are popped, and as things end I manage to kill his Rune Priest (who gets to close to a Fist) but lose everything but my Termie Priest and one dude in turn. Shaky indeed.

My Termies on the right shuffle over to take some rear shots on the Razorback, but I know it's a long shot- I manage a pen and two glances (with no cover), but can't do more than uselessly tear a gun off and shake it. We finish up the combat and weight of numbers drags me down, with my only doing a little bit more damage in return. One final roll and the game is over and... yeah, I lose, 7KP to 8. He killed every model in my army but three, which was just barely enough.

Final Thoughts
I definitely made some mistakes there and there were swings of luck both ways, but the ridiculously bad armor saves during the two late-game charges absolutely broke the back of my army. I'm still hesitant to say Combat Squadding my Termies was a mistake, as it increased my ability to (try and) keep his vehicles silent, but in the end it was enough. A good game and rather fast- definitely an army I'm interested in doing some more with.

Fun fact: I did not pass a single invulnerable save this game. :P

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