BATTLE REPORTS - BLOOD CONQUERS ALL - 1

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Alright, so now that I finally have my 1500 point army painted, I've finally been able to play an actual game again. With playing comes battle reporting. Here is the first of what I hope will be a long series of reports.

THE CHALLENGER (space marines)
1500 points

Librarian
terminator armor, storm shield, quickening, avenger

10x Tac Squad (flamer, lascannon, fist)

10x Tac Squad (flamer, lascannon, fist)

10x Sternguard (10x combi-meltas, lightning claw)
Drop Pod

Ironclad Dreadnought (heavy flamer, hinter killer, assault launchers)
Drop Pod (homing beacon)

Land Raider Redeemer (extra armor, multimelta, storm bolter)

Thunderfire Cannon

(note that all marine squads were split)

THE DEFENDER (The ever-vaunted Foleran First)
1500 points

I used list 5-1500-a

The mission was Capture and Control, the deployment was Spearhead. He won the roll.

At deployment, the field looked like this:

Seeing that he wasn't bringing a lot of infantry, and spending a lot of points on just a few units, I thought I stood a real chance at being able to win with both objectives (or at least one and a contest). As such, I put my objective almost as close to his as I could. The plan was to sweep his dread and LR off the field with my 2-6 S10 ordnance shots and the 9 meltaguns in my first rank. From there I would be able to charge his objective and knock them off with my blob while I generally took up position in the middle of the board and charged after wherever he was going to drop his sternguard.

TURN 1

Raust Melios Carissander - Commissar, Daxos Group

The mission which had been given to the Daxos Line was to cleanse a ruined fortress of what our glorious ministorum officers had informed us was possibly heretical space marines. Having accomplished this task, the officer in question personally led a group of soldiers with assault artillery to clear the grounds immediately in front of the fortress. Due to what can I can only rule to be indecisiveness on the part of the commander marshal, I felt that my duty to my God-Emperor inspired me to personally lead the way into the clearing.

There was present much scattered debris and makeshift barricades. It was from behind these that we first made contact with the enemy.

The game begins with him dropping his dreadnought on top of my roughly 40-man pack of dudes on the top, while making a cautious advance with his raider and center tac squads.

In shooting, his dreadnought makes an awful mess of a part of my blob with its heavy flamer. Meanwhile, the thunderfire hits once and then scatters three times onto more guys than it would have gotten with a hit. Armor saves stop a few.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In my turn, I start with a general advance towards the center of the board. The manticores reposition to get some LOS action on his raider while my hedge of meltaguns steps forward.

In shooting, the two manticores manage three shots, one of which hits. Unfortunately, it can't roll at least a 4 on two dice, so the shot merely bounces off.

Meanwhile, I open up with 6 meltaguns on the dreadnought, which is less than an inch out of melta range for the first squad. Nonetheless, aided with bring it down, the guns manage a glance and a pen. The penetrating shot blows off his DCCW+heavy flamer, while the glance simply shakes it.

And from at the maximum extent of its range, one of my mortar squads manages to ping a marine on his objective.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 2

At the beginning of turn two, my FO swats away his stern guard, while his land raider and dreadnought continue to advance. He takes the opportunity to unload some marines from his raider.

In shooting, his raider hoses down my officer with the meltabombs while the marines nail the blob with a flamer and a fusillade of bolt pistol shots. His thunderfire also has another good round of shooting, causing assorted casualties.

In assault, he charges into one of my meltagun squads with his dreadnought, which, very unfortunately doesn't break.

Charging boldly into the thick of the action, the guardsman in my squad began to suffer from flamer fire. Many of the soldiers disgraced themselves, letting pathetic screams of pain be their final prayer to their Emperor. Despite casualties, I pressed my squad forward.

Then, disgorged from their heresy engine, a squad of marines advanced on our position and charged into my men. I personally saw to it that every remaining soldier throw themselves into the fray, lest they be found inadequate to the task at hand.

The combat opened with a flurry of blows. While my comrades around me failed in their duty, I personally stabbed a traitorous marine straight through the throat with my power weapon. Despite my personal act of valor, the remaining soldiers displayed their weakness and were cut down.

As losses mounted, it soon became an epic battle with just myself and attendant priest in tow. The priest began to show signs of distress. He began to rant of engaging other targets. I could see the cowardice in his eyes. Stowing my sword, I turned and ordered him to remain in the fight. Astonishingly, he began to take actions that I could only interpret as signs of retreat. I once again ordered him to stay in the fight.

Unfortunately, this was to no avail. As such, he was found wanting, and was disposed of as the coward he was.

Now without a group to lead, I wisely decided to run to the nearest group to get them back into the fight. If these incompetent men of the first wave were able to fail so deplorably, perhaps the second wave would prove of greater mettle.

So, he charges in against what's left of my blob with his marines. With some good rolling with his sergeant, he manages to kill 3 of my guys, and I only manage to kill one in return. I make my leadership test and fail. The commissar turns and aces the priest, being the only model left. I then re-roll the leadership test and fail AGAIN. He manages to avoid getting swept.

Probably the most loltastic maiden use of commissars ever.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Despite losing my blob, I'm still pretty confident at this point. After all, he's still only got a couple of vehicles and just a few marines, and I've still got a lot of S10 ordnance and meltaguns and guys. As such, I continue my general advance, making it up to the barricade in the middle.

For orders, I seriously considered bringing the commissar back into the fight as an extra power weapon would still be very useful, but I really needed these vehicles dead, so I decided on a pair of bring it downs instead.

In shooting, I get 6 meltagun hits on his land raider, but one of the groups is tragically about 1" shy of melta range. None of the hits manage to do anything. Meanwhile, I fire my manticores at the raider which get 5 shots, 3 of which hit. After the dust settles, I somehow only managed a single glance for a "shaken".

Meanwhile, my basilisk, which missed last turn, misses again, but by a rather small scatter, managing to still catch a few marines in an earthshaker blast.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 3

In his turn, he continues his own advance against my troops.

In shooting, his raider uses his machine spirit to flamer the goop out of one of my meltagun squads while the tac squad does unfortunate things to my HQ. The thunderfire manages an astounding 4 hits, to which I reply by passing all of my armor saves.

He then double-assaults my HQ and nearby infantry squad with his tac squad in the middle.

The resulting combat goes poorly for the both of us. Meanwhile the dreadnought finishes off the meltagun squad it was tangling with for the preceding few assault turns.

After this point, the field looked like this:

With the situation on the field turning dire, I felt that it was my personal responsibility to fetch more troops still stationed further within the fortress and lead them with guile and bravery myself.

Passing by the support infantry of the group I gave them the strictest of orders to hold their ground.

I also gave them the order to cover me while I continued to advance further into the backfield.

So, by this point I see my strategy as having failed. I no longer have enough mass to make a proper assault on his position, and my 500+ points of dedicated anti-armor has utterly failed in its mission to sweep the center clean. Faced with a difficult position in centerfield, I felt I didn't have much of a choice but to fall back on my own objective and go for the draw.

In shooting, I had barely managed to get a pair of meltaguns into range with the land raider. One of the shots hit, but did nothing. Meanwhile one of my manticores got one shot at the land raider which missed and the other got two shots at the dreadnought, but also missed (thankfully not hitting anything of my own). The basilisk also failed to hit anything.

Knowing that his sternguard were becoming very likely to arrive (especially now that I lost my fleet officer), I order my area-denial SWS to go to ground.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 4

Turn 4 begins with his sternguard showing up, thankfully on top of my sacrificial vehicles, and not on the objective.

Meanwhile, his dreadnought charges around the corner towards my objective and the remaining few brave defenders thereof.

In shooting, things go badly for me. His center squad wipes out the remaining front line meltagunners while the raider aces another squad with a sponson flamer. His thunderfire picks off a mortar team, and even his drop pod storm bolter gets a couple of kills.

Of course, what was by far the most unfortunate was 5 combi-meltas all hitting the side armor of one of my manticores. At least the resulting explosion killed one of his sternguard. Meanwhile, the other side of the drop pod flamered and avengered my last SWS, rendering my going to ground useless.

In assault, he charged one of my infantry squads with his dreadnought, wiping it out and placing him on the objective.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In my turn I frantically try to reconsolidate my forces.

In shooting I find, to my great disappointment, that I could not place a large blast template on the dreadnought without also touching my own troops.

This meant that my tanks had to shoot at his sternguard. The manticore shoots three times, two of which hit, wiping out that side's combat squad with some bad armor saves. Meanwhile the mortars pick off a stern guard while the basilisk misses entirely.

With only one meltagun left, I shoot it at his dreadnought from definitely within melta range, but miss.

In assault, I finish off his tac squad in the middle and consolidate it toward my objective.

After this point, the field looked like this:

.

TURN 5

In his turn, he basically goes into mop-up mode.

His librarian avengers my junior officer, who manages to survive with a couple of models, which then get charged. The librarian flubs his rolls, and the junior officer manages to put a wound on him with his combat knife.

Meanwhile, his sternguard miraculously fail to do damage with krak grenades to my now-useless manticore, and the raider and tac squad combined puts another of my squads to the torch.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In my turn, I start by moving away from the dreadnought so that I could get a clear shot off against the dreadnought. I'd literally have one shot to make this right. Meanwhile the manticore moves away, preparing itself for a desperate turn 6 ramming of the dreadnought. Everybody else tries to set up a hedge against the infantry.

While my last remaining squad managed to kill a sergeant with a power fist, the basilisk missed its one last chance to dislodge the dreadnought.

After this point, the field looked like this:

At this point, my opponent rolled for turn 6 and failed, so the game was called.

FINAL RESULTS

He claimed one objective while the other objective was contested. At 1-0, the space marines win.

If I had played this game for the purpose of getting a draw, I have no doubts that I could have gotten one if I put my objective way on the opposite side of the board and then castled around it. Instead, though, I went for the win with a bold strategy.

Unfortunately, this boldness entailed some risk, to the tune of absolutely needing to clear off his vehicles. Needless to say, a priest who wasn't able to use his eviscerator, meltaguns so painfully just out of the sweet spot, S10 ordnance that pattered helplessly off what it hit, a basilisk which missed every shot and a commissar whose idea of "stubborn" is gunning down clergy and then running away like a little girl turned my bold plan into a bold flop. If the rolling had gone differently, I definitely could have pulled it off, and if I were to play this again, I think I'd do more or less the same thing all over again.

Otherwise, there were just a few minor screw ups in movement and deployment that will probably get filed away as I play more. I'm rather proud of how my list held up, though, especially against all those flamers. While my casualties were great, they were still within acceptable limits, and if I could have actually killed off that bothersome dreadnought, I would definitely have had enough left over to make more than a decent stand against his few remaining infantry.

MVP: my manticores. Even though they horribly failed in their role (not unlike most things), they DID successfully provide bait for the sternguard. If my opponent had decided to take all of those bolters and psychic flame throwers and had thrown them at my objective he very well could have taken the game 2-0. Instead, he got distracted into throwing melta shots at vehicles far from the objective which were basically out of ammo already.

Hero of the Game: This one is hard to tell, given the many acts of ultimately futile bravery. In the end I'm going to have to go with the leftmost SWS. After taking a pounding from thunderfire cannons, they still bravely charged PAST a flamer and a powerfist to stare straight down the barrel of an uber-redeemer-flamer just to attempt to complete their mission.

Upon returning to the field with another one of the line's groups, I found that the fortress walls which had but most recently been stormed by the enemy to be now vacant. I did not feel that a further incursion was required into the space in front of the fortress. Clearly my mere presence returning to the battlefield had scattered my foes before me. Undoubtedly fleeing in a full rout on the other side of the high walls, I was content to claim victory at the hands of my personal strategic brilliance.

We then left the fortress for another mission. I can only feel sorrow for all of the brave men of the first wave who perished in combat without ever having the joy of experiencing me - the very ideal of the Emperor's wrath.

I eagerly await my next assignment. In faith,

-Raust Melios Carissander, Imperial Commissar


post facto review

Looking back, I think I had two main problems with this game. The first was that I haven't really gotten the knack for meltaguns yet. I probably should have retreated a bit to let him get closer with his vehicles rather than running out after him. My charge on one side needn't have required a charge on the other.

More importantly, though, I think my deployment was what screwed me up here. I didn't have a clear purpose for what unit needed to do what to accomplish the ultimate objective. As such, I had squads that were acting as deepstrike defence, instead of charging forward (infantry squads) or attacking their proper targets (melta SWSs). Without a clear understanding of what should do what, nothing really did all that much to further the strategic end.

What I SHOULD have done, for example, was to put my blob in the lower left and have bypassed everything on the top. The blob didn't need to be anywhere near the land raider/dreadnought in order to complete its objective of getting to the opposing objective. Putting it on top just exposed it to needless carnage and ultimately stopped it in achieving it's goal.

The real lesson of this is to make sure that every unit has a strategic goal and is always operating towards that goal (and is deployed appropriately).