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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Leviathon Battle Report - Game 2: Mech Blood Angels v Tau

This was a modified capture & control where the objectives were placed in roughly the centre of opposite table quarters. Deployment was pitched battle and the secondary was whomever had more scoring units within 6" of the table centre. Against Tau the game plan is to get up into their faces and stay there - they aren't going to push me out of combat but with their impressive shooting they can and will wreck my mech if I give them long enough to shoot it down. My issue here is I really only have three shooting units to go toe to toe with the Crisis/Broadsides and with JSJ they can avoid my Marines relatively well once they are outside of transports.

Simon won the roll-off and elected to go first. His list looked like:

Commander w/TL-Missile, Target Lock
3x3x Crisis w/TL-Missile, something extra (flamer?)
6x Fire Warriors
4x Large Kroot + Hounds (19-25 strong each)
2x2x Broadsides w/Target Lock

So a lot of firepower and midfield blocking.

Deployment -

This would be huge as we shall find out later on and I unfortunately didn't get deployment pictures. Tau deployed in a long line with the Broadsides in opposite corners to force side shots on Preds, the Crisis Suits generally located towards the centre and two squads of Kroot standing in front of them through infiltration. The other two squads are outflanking and the Fire Warriors are in reserve. The Tau objective is on the far right.

My objective is on the far left and I choose to deploy my army here - mistake. The Predators go in the back corner to provide as much AV13 as possible to the Broadsides, the Scouts protect one board edge from allowing Kroot to combat into stationary tanks and the Flamerbacks all deploy up front to rush the enemy ASAP. However, because I am on the left side instead of the right side, the Tau objective is under no pressure what-so-ever when I should have really deployed over there to push my army onto his objective ASAP. Let his Kroot take my objective through outflanking if they must, I'd then have an advantage in midfield with a better combat army for the secondary.

To cap this off, I seize - I'd have had my full army essentially on his objective Turn 1 if I had deployed correctly.

Blood Angels Turn 1 -

The flamerbacks go full tilt straight forward with two popping smoke to layer the cover for all four tanks. The Preds position themselves for shooting on the Broadsides but when all is said and done only one is dead. Mass S7 + three S10 shots incoming next turn... Mephiston is hiding behind the Razorbacks.

Tau Turn 1 -

The Crisis Suits move laterally away from the Flamerbacks and forward to start the move across midfield. The Kroot on the right spread out some more and creep towards the centre of the board whilst the Kroot on the left move up to engage any ASM which are spilled from destroyed tanks and the Flamerback wall - the Kroot want to ensure they only get a few models in close combat with the ASM to ensure maximum suppression damage on the Flamerbacks and minimal damage on the ASM so they don't get wiped and leave the Kroot open to tank shocks/shooting.

Shooting sees one Razorback on the far left Wrecked with the ASM deploying as far from the Kroot as possible. One ACLC Pred is also destroyed from Broadside firepower. The Kroot just manage an assault on the ASM and all of the Flamerbacks but the ASM only manage to kill two Kroot. The Kroot kill none in return by stun the right most Razorback and then pile in towards the ASM. There are so many Kroot however and they were so strung out that they are still stopping a lot of forward movement of the Razorbacks.

Blood Angels Turn 2 -

My Razorbacks are just about in the worst position currently - the stunned Razorback and Kroot wall is effectively blocking my forward movement. On of the rear Razorbacks swings round the blockade to the left whilst Mephiston goes straight over it to engage the Broadsides. The other remaining mobile Razorback scoots backwards to block off more of the board edge against the Kroot coming in.

Shooting sees nothing fall to the ACLC Preds + Scouts. Mephiston assaults the Broadsides and wipes them, consolidating further out of the forest due to no AP1/2 shots. The recently disembarked ASM join their buddies in combat against the Kroot and wipe them out - both consolidate into the forest towards midfield.

Tau Turn 2 -

One Kroot squad shows up which comes in on the left flank - perfect for Tau. It comes in on in the back left and wraps around recently moved Razorback there in an attempt to engage it and the scouts. The Crisis squads keep moving across the board whilst keeping a fair distance from the ASM + Razorbacks whilst the Kroot squad which started on the board keeps spreading out towards midfield.

Shooting sees the recently stunned Razorback destroyed along with another Predator whilst Mephiston takes a wound from some rockets. The Kroot manage to get the Scouts into combat and the Razorback. They stun the Razorback and kill three of the Scouts and lose only one in return. The Scouts pass their Leadership check and combat continues.

Blood Angels Turn 3 -

Piling on movement mistakes to go with my deployment mistakes - although my forward movement had been blocked due to the Kroot combat and stunned Razorback up front, I should have continued my push across the board to again take the fight to the Tau objective and if not, sit on the central part of the board. Instead, a Razorback has basically been lost and is now stunned surrounded by Kroot. So I decide to turn my other remaining Razorback back in the other direction after the occupants of the stunned Razorback emergency disembark to ensure they aren't going to be trapped in there and die. The new Razorback positions itself so the Kroot cannot assault the disembarked ASM.

The other ASM in the forest keep legging it towards the centre of the board whilst Mephiston flies around the backfield looking to get to grips with the Tau army - he hides behind some rocks to limit the shooting coming his way. The remaining ACLC Pred manages to drop a Crisis Suit.

In combat the scouts pull off a miraculous array of hits and defensive manoeuvres to lose none of their own, kill two Kroot and cut them down as they are fleeing. All that support for nothing...

Tau Turn 3 -

The other Kroot and Firewarriors come in. The Kroot again come in the bottom left and move behind the scouts to finish off the Razorback which did not move and the wee little lads. One of the Crisis Suits jumps towards Mephiston to try and bait him into assaulting them (rather than jumping over them to get closer to the Tau objective). The remaining suits continue moving forward in the midfield area and the Kroot squad spreads out. The Firewarriors who just came on run towards the Tau objective.

The remaining ACLC Pred is stunned and immobilised and the combined firepower of the Kroot + some Crisis sees the central most ASM squad flee with the Priest attached. The final Razorback is also taken down leaving me without any mech movement. All the firepower thrown into Mephiston is bounced and the Kroot in the bottom left assault the Scouts & Razorback and manage to kill the Razorback and leave one scout standing.

Blood Angels Turn 4 -

The fleeing squad keeps on going with some Crisis Suits nearby and falls off the table edge. The remaining midfield ASM continue their move towards the middle but without Priest support now. The other two ASM squads setup assaults on the Kroot in my backfield in ways to minimise any need to go over the Razorback wrecks (aka dangerous tests). Mephiston jumps over the Crisis Suits and fleets towards the final Broadside.

The ASM trash the Kroot in combat but not before the final Scout dies. They consolidate as much as they can towards their objective but don't get too far and the remaining Priest is well out of range of the midfield ASM squad. Mephiston assaults the Broadside and doesn't cast anything and doesn't do anything! The Broadside does a wound in return and now nothing can shoot @ Mephy (for the price of a wound).

Tau Turn 4 -

Kroot move further into midfield but keep on their objective. As I point out later, they really needed to move further in so Mephiston could either clear midfield or the Tau objective rather than both at once. Crisis Suits all do some shooting and the assault moves forward. The combined firepower of the Suits + Kroot does a number on the four ASM in midfield without FNP support and also immobilises/stuns the remaining Pred. Firewarriors move further up the board onto objective.

Mephiston deals with the Broadside in combat easily enough and consolidates towards his juicy targets.

Blood Angels Turn 5 -

Mephiston moves between the Kroot and Firewarriors to give himself some choice on what to assault (though  there is really only one answer here as the Kroot are on the objective and within 6" of the board's centre - Simon really should have moved the Kroot all the way into midfield so Mephiston had to choose taking the Kroot out or the Fire Warriors leaving the other squad to own whatever wasn't killed that turn). The Assault Marines keep moving through terrain and running to their objective.

Mephiston assaults the Kroot and kills them all through a sweeping advance. He consolidates onto the Tau objective (thereby killing two birds with one stone).

Tau Turn 5 -

The Crisis Suits run towards the BA objective to contest whilst everything opens up on Mephiston to try and kill him but he lives with one wound to go. The game ends on a roll of a 1 with a draw on both primary and secondary with nobody holding anything.

Conlusion -

This battle report highlights a couple of important constructs. First, poor deployment puts you on the back foot all game long. We've said this time and time again but it's highlighted here. I was too preoccupied on holding my own objective rather than loling through the Tau lines and sitting on theirs. The Scouts could have come on from reserve and sat on mine and even if the Kroot came on and took that objective (which they would have), I had more than enough speed and scoring units to win the secondary once I'd cleared the Tau objective (which as we saw on the other side took a measly single turn). This meant when my army was blocked/bogged down it was in no-man's land rather than on the Tau objective. Without the ability to really move forward and the opportunity to clear my own objective, the Tau objective was basically left alone except for Mephiston (who admittedly cleared it quite well). However, this left all my scoring units well away from the centre of the table and thanks to Tau's excellent shooting, I had no vehicles with which to speed me on my way there. If the game had gone on I likely would have gotten a single unit there but the game should have been wrapped up much earlier, particularly with the seize, as my army should have started on the Tau objective and then moved to midfield when needed.

To compound this, I didn't push forward with Razorbacks when I had the chance and kept throwing them backwards to deal with Kroot. Whilst I did clear my own objective, it was too late for the Razorbacks (now dead) or ASM to get to midfield in time - I was relying on at least Turn 6 for the win if not Turn 7, always a sure way to not get the win.

Secondly, we see a great practical example of units staying in combat by getting as little into combat with infantry as possible. Multiple times the Kroot squads were able to engage mostly tanks and through a few token combatants with Scouts or ASM, stick around in combat due to the limited number of attacks going both ways. This meant no flamer templates were landing on the bunched up Kroot but more importantly, the vehicles were unable to move through that Kroot unit, even if they were no where near the actual point of combat. This forced my army essentially backwards which allowed the Tau firepower more time to kill my tanks and pushed me away from their objective thanks to my deployment mistake.

Beyond that, the actual game was an enjoyable tussle though I am disappointed in myself not only for my deployment choice but for not trying to force the issue and press on into midfield/towards the Tau objective. I took Razorbacks without any ranged weaponry for this reason! Props must be given to Simon though for blocking and delaying my army after I deployed on the wrong side and he did deserve the win but unfortunately he couldn't stop Mephiston from rampaging through his lines.

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