I've been in a slump in Epic recently, losing 4 out of 5 of my previous games with the lone victory feeling more like a loss, so I felt nervous going into last night's game against Sean, an experienced player who knows his army inside and out.
I played cautiously in the first turn, choosing to force the whirlwinds to move out and engage rather than run into their sustained fire range. This avoided some serious pain. Turn two we both brought in our terminators near the Blitz objective on my side but he got the drop on me and with firefight support from a tactical formation he engaged my platoon of marines and forlorn hope. After a few kills on each side, we went into the resolution with him +2 and I rolled double ones. He got a six. Bam! Seven more units dead and the platoon is gone.
Later in the turn Platoon #3 (who was minding their business on the other side of the board) was assaulted by the thunderhawk and two Assault marines which decimated that formation. Ouch. Fortunately, some good news for me as my dreadclaw dropping formations came in and removed the whirlwinds and secured the Blitz goal. And Sean's rolling started to skunk up the place as his 4+ rolling ratio fell below 25% for the rest of the game.
Turn 3 and 4 saw mostly maneuvuring for position and objectives as we both tried to secure those two points. However we were unsuccessful after four turns and went to victory points where I came out on top, ~1100-750.
* * * * *
I had enough time for a second game, and there was lots of people there. Besides Sean and me, another Sean (Krago), Adam, Al, and Dave (dragonsbane) had arrived. So I paired up with Dave and Sean took on Al (Krago and Adam were already playing on a third table).
Dave's Imperial Guard army sported a big Warlord in the middle of the battleline which caused me some worry, but since there was no thunderhawks I felt somewhat soothed.
In the second turn Dave became blinded by his 8BP rocket pods on the valkryies and drove them up the middle of the board in a double action to unleash on one of my rhino platoons. However, even 8BPs are sadly outmatched by infantry in cover during a double action. The marines shrugged off the shooting and then combined with the other rhino platoon and Forlorn Hope to surround, engage, and destroy the valkryies and their stormtroopers. The warlord titan tried to get back control but his firepower was not impressive enough to scare me as my dreadclaw platoon came down and assaulted the Super Heavy tank company, breaking them. In turn 3 the terminators teleported in and tried to finish the job and mostly succeeded, but took 4 deaths in return (6 hits, 4+ reinforced, I roll nothing but ones and two for the first handful. Re-rolled, only two made the 4+). Counter fire broke my big platoon, and the termies were broken as well. Not the stellar attack I was hoping for!
Fortunately, the rest of my army performed well and my formations rallied. The game ended in turn four as I took the Blitz and a second objective for Take and Hold (Dave miscued and failed to place the warlord so he was contesting an objective). I still successfully defended my Blitz with the third Forlorn Hope. Had the game gone to victory points, I'm confident I would have still won because my terminators and large platoon were still alive while the Stormtroopers and super-heavy tank company were not.
* * * * *
I think I played well in my first game, both in selecting an army well suited to the task and placing my terminators where they were needed the most. With Sean having more activations and the super-annoying ability of the Thunderhawk to land wherever it needs without triggering overwatch, winning on Objectives was going to be difficult so I was fortunately to have won on VPs. Had Sean's rolling been better, the game would have been closer to victory for him I fear.
In the second game, Dave played very well with two major exceptions: driving the stormtroopers ahead of the rest of the army and dooming them to ineffective death, and not getting the warlord to contest an objective in turn 3 and 4. On my side, I played a fairly cautious game trying to preserve my forces as much as possible and avoid losing my two big formations due to some crappy armour save rolling. I succeeded (barely) and won because of it.
I don't think taking the warlord was a bad idea except it did hurt his activation count, allowing me to wait til the end of turn two to do my dreadclaw drop and catch all nearby formations already activated. But like I said, something that big needs to be sitting on an objective in turn 3 and holding it on turn 4. Anything else is a sad waste except for maybe getting the Break their Spirit goal.
In my army, having the one big terminator squad was a good idea. Not as flexible as two small ones, but the three oblit stands really adds to their firepower and range and gives me one place on the board where enemy aircraft dare not go. I love the big squad in dreadclaws along with the forlorn hope squad; being able to wait until its most advantageous to bring my units down makes up for having to pick the location before deployment. I don't know why more marine players don't field a strike cruiser and a formation or two to take advantage of that ability. Terminators show up at the beginning of a turn and take blast markers, sort of negating their ability to go anywhere.
Still, I missed not having any war engines. Deathwheels, Ferals, even decimators really add to the battle for me. Oh well, maybe next time.