Thursday, December 22, 2005

How the Heck Did that Happen?

So I had a quick 3000 pt game against Dave (aka theDragonsBane) yesterday afternoon and found myself getting slapped around like a pinata at a 6 year old's birthday party. And then at the end of turn 3 found myself victor.

How the heck did that happen?

Black Storm:
Platoon #1 - 8 marines, 4 havocs, 6 rhinos
Platoon #2 - 8 marines, 4 rhinos
Platoon #3 - 8 marines, 4 rhinos
2 x Forlorn Hope - 4 marines, 2 rhinos
Bike Company - 8 bikers
2 x Terminators - 4 Terminators
2 Deathwheels
Hellblades (using Swiftdeath rules)

Imperial Guard
Command Platoon - 13 infantry + chimeras, 1 hydra
Infantry Platoon - 13 infantry
Storm troopers in Valkries - 4 Valkries, 8 Storm Troopers
4 Vultures (ouch)
3 Shadowswords
2 Warhounds
3 Manticores
2 x Thunderbolts (2)

Turn 1:

IG get initiative and activates the vultures. Instead of pounding the Deathwheels as I expected, he targets Platoon#1. You see, fearing the Manticores I left all my platoons in their tanks. He took advantage of that and got 7 hits destroying all 6 rhinos, and the infantry armour saves were on odds so I lost 6 of 12 stands of infantry. 12 dead units in one salvo. Ouch!

He retains and then pummels the bikes with the manticores, killing four of them and breaking the rest. I haven't even activated yet and I've got two formations broken and below or at 50%. Ouch!

Everything else is mostly advancing and a couple infantry stands from each side dying. At the end of the turn my broken formations rally and we prepare for turn 2.

Turn 2:
I decide that the shadowswords have to go before they can draw bead on my Deathwheels, especially after learning how Titan Killer with D3 or D6 work! Yikes! So I teleport the two terminator formation in front and behind the shadowswords and hope I can win initiative (I get +2 to the roll).

We roll and Guard win the initiative AGAIN! Arrg! Well, Dave brought back his infantry platoon and command platoon to engage and destroy the first terminator formation with massive numbers, and then retained to fire the shadowswords on the second terminator formation. Titan Killer weapons really, really hurt. Both terminator formation down with only a small handful of dead guardsmen to show for it. I was not in a good place.

I was desperate now and tried to get some revenge by engaging the shadowswords with the Deathwheels and managed to kill one superheavy and break the rest. Finally, some good news! The first thunderbolts tried a ground attack and I intercepted, killing them both. Then the warhounds sustained fire and killed 5 marines and 2 rhinos of platoon #3, and followed by the stormtroopers engaging the 6 stand remanants of platoon #1 and easily dispatched them near the blitz objective.

More desperation showing I threw the surviving bikes against the storm troopers and after 3 rounds of combat the bikers were dead but the storm troopers took enough casulaties to break.

So, at the end of turn 2 the broken Shadowswords and Storm troopers failed to rally while my broken platoon#3 managed to find some courage. Tally for IG had the undamaged Manticores, Vultures, one thunderbolt squadron, 2 warhounds, and two mostly undamaged platoons of infantry still alive and unbroken. Chaos had one undamaged platoon of infantry. 2 forlorn hope still kicking, 1 platoon below half strength, Hellblades, and 2 deathwheels. I felt badly outnumbered.

Turn 3

I manage to win the initiative and try to take the manticores out by sustaining fire with the Deathwheels. Four shots at 3+ to hit against 6+ armour? Easy I thought. Then I rolled 1, 1, 2, 2. AAARRRRRGGGGG! Manticores suffer a blast marker. Desperate to keep them from pummelling me I sacrifice two hellblades through hydra flak to put another blast marker on the artillery.

I think that put some panic into Dave as he decided to try and destroy the Deathwheels by engaging them with the two infantry platoons. A vicous fight erupts which sees one Deathwheel go down and the other break, but they managed to win combat anyways! The infantry are broken and suddenly a gap is opening. Dave trys to finish off the last deathwheel using the Warhounds but the armour of the chaos war engine stands up to task. However, the warhounds are in the danger zone and I engage with the platoon#2 marines and take one of the walkers down, breaking the other. The door opens more!

I then send a forlorn hope flying through the gap of broken units into range of the blitz and fire at the nearby manticores. I fail to hit but the third blast marker breaks them and before Dave knew it I had the Blitz and Take and Hold goals secure. His vultures secured his Blitz but he lacked an unbroken unit to take anything else. Chaos wins!


What happened? It seemed like to me that the Imperial Guard was ready for an easy victory and it slipped through their hands in turn 3. Well, I think a few things contributed.

1. Shadowswords and Stormtroopers didn't rally at the end of turn 2. Had either one found the faith to fight on, I was screwed.

2. Deathwheels broke two infantry platoons. It was a risky engagement and I would not have done it, especially considering they had already activated in turn 3 and were not near any objectives.

3. Warhounds put themselves into close combat engage range with an undamaged marine platoon in a vain effort to get the last Deathwheel. Even had the tactic worked and the Deathwheel went down, it was still a 2-2 game and losing 600 pts of warhounds would have really stung. He would have been better served shooting at the unactivated marines and contesting the objective.

It wasn't much, but it was enough to let me sneak in an undeserved victory. I definitely want a rematch though, both because I think I can do better and Dave deserves a chance to redeem himself.

Dave: Great game. Sorry if I was a little bitter in the early going, but almost nothing seemed to go my way for the first two turns and I'm still in shock that I won. Everything was dying and nothing of yours was, it was frustrating. I'll be more patient next time now that I see how fragile the guard can be in the right circumstances.

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