BATTLE REPORTS - BLOOD CONQUERS ALL - 3

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My 1850 league continues! This game was played against a person who has a rather notorious sisters army, who brought a dark eldar list this time (you don't need to keep the same list through the league).

THE CHALLENGER: Kabal of the Flying Circus of Torment
1850pts.

Asdrubael Vect (a.k.a. the party wagon)

Dracite (Punisher, tormentor helm, trophy rack animus vitae, haywire grenade)
(deployed with big wych squad)

Raider Squad (dark lance, night shield)
Raider Squad (dark lance, night shield)
Raider Squad (dark lance, night shield)
Raider Squad (dark lance, night shield)
Raider Squad (dark lance, night shield)

7 Wychs (succubus with agonizer, all with wych weapons, plasma grenades, 2x blasters)
Raider (as above)
5 Wychs (succubus with agonizer, all with wych weapons, plasma grenades, 2x blasters)
Raider (as above)

BEASTMASTER
With 5 warp beasts

Ravager (dark lance 2x disintegrators)
Ravager (dark lance 2x disintegrators)
Ravager (3x dark lance)

THE DEFENDER: White and brown, smack 'em down!
1850 pts.

I used list 5-1850-a, same as last time.

The mission we were assigned was called "ring". Basically, there was a single objective in the middle. Like capture and control, right? Well, it was, except...

- the objective moved 3D6" in a random direction every player turn.
- the objective would stop moving if it was captured.
- the objective was captured when ANY unit got into base to base contact.
- at which point, the unit holding the objective could run around with it, and it would stay attached to their squad.

I see this mission, and immediately think I'm screwed. Here I am with a slow guard army, and my opponent has 11 skimmers, any of which can fly 24" over, pick up the objective, and then turbo-boost away, leaving me never to see the objective again, much less get a clean shot off on its carrier. To make it worse, my opponent rolled for first turn.

At deployment, the field looked like this:

Despite my lack of direct-fire anti-tank (sure, I can fire artillery directly, but then I'm exposed to a LOT of dark lances), my opponent hides his throng of skimmers behind the walls and buildings on his side of the board. For my part, I try to spread my net pretty wide. I have no idea where this objective is going to flip off toward and I need to have broad coverage just in case it floats towards me.

As far as strategy was concerned, I figured that I had basically one hope open to me: to get the flag in the hands of my power blob. If I could do that, I could hide the blob somewhere, and there would be basically nothing he could do to take it back. Except, of course, double charge my blob with wyches. As such, I put my artillery on wych-raider-cracking duty with my mortars to help nail the wyches after they pile out. If I can suppress my opponent's ability to tackle my blobs, I have the chance it taking and holding with a little luck, with Rhamael (al'rahem) to close in with another blob if luck was less kind.

I rolled to seize the initiative, and I seized it!


TURN 1

Report concerning the action on: 11 Ouros
Daxos Line

After nearly a week of preparatory bombardment, the morning of the 11th was our set date to commence the assault on the fortifications of Kar-El. My newly-replenished forces were forced to bivouac in a dale apart from the fortifications to prevent unnecessary collateral damage to the troops. We were close enough, however, to hear the great clatter of artillery besetting its malevolence upon our enemies on the other side of the hill, to the great entertainment of officer and enlisted man alike.

Scouts had been sent forward on the night of the 10th under such a murderous barrage to stake out the route of assault, and the exact points of entry into the fortress. All lines were obliged to surrender their colors. These standards were then affixed to points on the walls to tell each of the commander marshals where to assault.

The morning of the 11th saw me rise to tea and pamphlets on discourses with regards to field tactics for advanced commanders (such as myself). After my morning constitutional (to the marching drumbeat of artillery crashing into our foes), I gathered my men into position. Across a shallow valley I could view the battered fortress with my magnoculars. My line's flag could be seen gaily fluttering in the morning sun. This would be our point of attack.

We approached our staging point and began our cautious advance as artillery continued to pound away. Then I saw what I can honestly say is the most horrific thing my eyes have ever been so mis-fortunate to see. The standard - our line's very own colors - became dislodged from their position and began to float away on the breeze!

Therefore I ordered an immediate attack, regardless of incoming fire. No amount of foleran blood is worth the dishonor of the loss of our colors. Without regard to safety or casualty, I bravely ordered my group out ahead of the line.

We begin the game with the objective moving roughly 12" off it's center and slightly towards the DE player. This means that I'm not going to be able to snag the objective turn 1, like I desperately hoped. That said, everything moves up and much of it vaguely to the right.

I wanted to keep my left out as bait. Hopefully my opponent will use that huge pile of raiders on the left to attack my left, rather than jet over and snag the objective.

In shooting I cast a greedy eye on the 6 AV10, open topped skimmers that he has crammed into a 1/2 square foot area. I'd basically be assured carnage. However, letting an apparent weakness in the enemy causing me to lose focus to chase targets of opportunity is the classic German WWI mistake. Instead, I stick to my original plan. While the manticore on the left only got one shot in, which scattered away, the manticore on the right got two shots in square on his right side wych raider, easily wrecking it, and even blowing the weapon off a nearby raider. Then the mortars chime in, downing a few wyches and all but completely wiping out the beasts hiding next to them. Lastly my basilisk takes aim at the big party wagon and misses by several inches, but because his forces are so clustered, the shot lands on the raider behind it, blowing it to smithereens.

After this point, the field looked like this:

His turn begins with the objective moving 15" away... straight onto his infantry in the middle... Crap.

He follows through by pushing his raiders forward on the left, disgorging wyches:

And he flies a squad straight forward which spectacularly crashes into the tower (failed difficult terrain), the stunned soldiers get out and set up overlooking my forces:

The only part of his forces that can't complete the chevron of defense is his right side where his wyches, after getting hit by an awful lot of barrage weapons, had failed a pinning check. The only thing that moves forward is his lone warp beast.

In shooting, he opens up with all of his skimmers on my left side. A pair of dark lances fail to hurt the heavily obscured manticore, but a barrage from the disintegrator and the full weight of the party boat manage to wipe away a PCS and most of a PIS. Then their wyches charge in:

These wyches had rolled "+1 attack" as their combat drug. Needless to say, the melta SWS did not survive... The wyches then consolidate into cover toward the objective.

Meanwhile, the lone warp beast charges into my right side melta SWS. It manages 1 wound, and I flub my attacks back. Having lost the combat, I then fail my morale check. Thankfully the standard is all of 2" away, so I get to reroll my morale check, which I fail AGAIN. As if that weren't enough, I roll a 1 to not get swept, and the single warp beast throws another melta squad off the table.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 2

Crap, so this is basically exactly where I DON'T want to be. My opponent controls the objective, and still has lots of viable skimmers. Worst, both of his wych units which are close enough to double-assault my blob (the other wyches rolled "12 inch assault" for their drug). This could be shut down before it really began. Thankfully, I have an ace up my sleeve...

With the help of my astropath, I manage to roll a 7 for if Rhamael is ready from reserves. I seriously consider bringing him in from the right, as it would be an easier path to the objective, but I decide to stick with my plan to come in from the left. His skimmers had barely moved (in order to shoot), which means he wasn't getting SMF, and Rhamael's blob has a lot of units that are basically worthless with the exception of killing skimmers. As it's about the same distance of march either way, I decide to keep his skimmers distracted on the left while my other power blob ran up the middle:

For the rest of my movement, I bring in the right squad a little more, and I take my center, injured PIS and run them out into the open. My hope against hope is that he will send his wyches against my easy-to-kill squad, rather than falling back on my blob squad in the middle.

In shooting, I'm unfortunately required to split my focus across his two wych squads with my mortars. Both of them hit with their leading shot, causing some casualties. My manticores, however, were not so lucky, rolling low for their number of shots and scattering away. Meanwhile, my basilisk tried for round 2 on his party wagon and hit dead on. After some good rolling, his uber-skimmer crashes into the ground, amongst angry shouting from the crew.

On the other side, Rhamael throws down a go like the wind and a bring it down. The power blob winds a couple of dudes off the parapet with pistol fire, but the meltas squads fail to receive their orders (in fact, of all the orders I sent out that turn, ALL failed except the one). Despite this, 6 meltaguns and 3 plasma guns do some very unkind things to non-fast, open top AV10 - Exploding one, immobilizing another, and knocking the weapon off a third.

After this point, the field looked like this:

My opponent retaliates by moving in from the right his otherwise worthless skimmers, and prepares to attack my power blob with his wyches/dracite.

On the left, my myriad of distractions all work! His wyches take the bait and attack my straggler PIS, while his skimers on the left position to attack my outflankers while the skimmers on the tower stay put to take a full load of shots on my left-side manticore.

In shooting, his tower skimmers take down my manticore, and his ravager (and the raider squad in the weaponless raider) pump a lot of shots into the melta SWS and Rhamael, killing it down to just 2 melta guys from the SWS, and Rhamael all by himself.

In assault, he charges his left wyches into my PIS, utterly obliterating them. He chooses to consolidate into cover towards the nearest squad:

My men had done an exemplar job assaulting into the fortress, but more importantly, making it's move to retrieve the colors from the foul clutches of the xenos threat (I currently have the standard being disinfected as you read). From the vantage of my commanding position which I had so thoughtfully taken, I could see my forces being waylaid by the enemy.

From nowhere, they sprang out and charged most furiously. With the polite urgings of Commissar Raust, the squad bravely turned and forebore the maniacal assault.

From my vantage point, I could see Raust call out the enemy officer. After engorging itself on the blood of the sons of blessed Foleran soil, the two met in fearsome combat, hand to hand. Perhaps distracted by its earlier slaughter, the enemy commander failed to hit Raust, who, with a loud shout and a great thrust of his sword plunged the mighty blade at his adversary. A shower of sparks and light crackled through the air as disruptor field met shadowfield. After a moment of temporary blindness, my vision restored, I was left with the visage of the commissar removing his blade from where he had stabbed the hapless witch lord in the throat. Brilliant!

For combat drugs, my opponent's dracite rolled for +1 attack, 12" charge, and re-roll hits. He also rolls doubles, knocking its wounds down to just 1. Even in their much-depleted state, his wyches put down a LOT of attacks - the Dracite's 6 or 7 rerollable power weapons did much of the killing. After the shooting and chopping, he wiped out half my squad, setting me up to loose combat by NINE. In return, my power weapon and eviscerator (and regular) attacks horribly flub it, only managing to kill a single wych. To counter this, I was able to get Raust close enough to his Dracite to get a couple of attacks in. Even in his temporary WS2 state, he managed to land a pair of hits, one of which wounded.

... and the shadowfield failed.

Of course, being stubborn, I got to take my morale check at LD10 instead of LD3, keeping me in the fight.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 3

With my first power blob temporarily held-up, it's up to most of the rest of my army to close in on the objective. The only exceptions to this are my special weapons squads, who want to keep his raiders on the left distracted (and possibly dead). My priest splits off from the blob to attack his ravager while Rhamael desperately tries to pretend like it's a part of it:

In shooting, I manage to ping a few warriors on the objective with mortars, but my manticore and basilisk seriously missed whatever they were shooting at. Likewise, from inches away both meltaguns fail to hit the ravager. The plasma barrage at least hosed down a nearby raider.

In close combat, my priest makes confetti out of his immobilized ravager. Meanwhile, the wych succubus holding up my blob does some more damage, but the whole squad is drug down by a flurry of power weapons.

With the blockage cleared, I was able to continue my charge toward the standard. My bosom swelled with the thought of recovering our sacred badge of honor from the enemy. From my vantage point, I shouted my men forward, and they eagerly got to the task, charging forward in a smart and sprightly manner.

That blob started with 22 dudes in it, and was brought down to this level by only a half-strength wych squad. I was right to fear them.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In his turn, my opponent sees my pincer of doom advancing on his poor squad in the middle and brilliantly reacts by setting up a super raider roadblock - attempting to physically prevent my troops from advancing any further.

In shooting, what little remains of his left side cleans out my meltagunners with a dark lance bouncing off the priest's rosarius. Meahwhile, splinter guns whittle down my plasma gunners, who break and run.

That, and his left side wyches clean out my PCS in the middle. Keep munchin', buddies.

After this turn, the field looked like this:


TURN 4

At this point, my hopes are pretty high. His wyches have been neutralized, and I've blown up most of his skimmers. All that's left is to close the jaws on his puny center squad. His attempts to roadblock me are useful, but he's not able to completely block me off, allowing my units to continue to strive forward.

Meanwhile, I have these obnoxious skimmers in the way. Have some armor that gets a free 4++ that you can only ignore through close combat, but you have to hit on 6's? Priests to the rescue!

In shooting, I ping a few warriors with retreating plasma, and my mortars clean his warriors off the objective. He went to ground (which releases the objective), but still takes enough firepower in the kisser to get him to run. Yeah, this opened up the objective to randomly wander again, but I wasn't sure I could catch him in assault, and the only thing worse than 3D6" in a random direction was 12" running in the direction of my opponent's choice.

Meanwhile, the basilisk manages a hit on his wyches on the bottom, but nothing goes through cover saves. The heavy bolter, on the other hand, kills two. With nothing really all that great to shoot at without significantly endangering my own troops, my manticore decides to save its last salvo.

In assault, my left side priest manages a hit on the charge and picks up a second with the re-rolls. The immediate detonation of the entire vehicle kills a hapless nearby guardsman. Meanwhile, the other priest misses all three attacks, but picks up a 6 on the three re-rolls. Tragically, he is only able to get a glance in, and the glance merely shakes the vehicle.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Now free, the objective moves once again. What's the only thing worse than the objective moving 12" in the direction of my opponent's choice? Moving 16" in the direction my opponent would have chosen anyways. The flag flips away from all of my guys onto the board edge.

On the left, my priest fails a rosarius test against a darklance, and I'm forced to divulge that, as imperial guard officers are no longer independent characters, Rhamael was NOT, in fact, a part of the blob squad. This results in his immediate annihilation from the troops on the nearby parapet.

Meanwhile, he is able to get some warriors in base to base with power blob #2, causing all of my dudes to run BACKWARDS in order to handle the assault. One of his other raiders also unloads some warriors, who charge into power blob #1. Lots more terrible rolling with powerswords keeps them tarpitted.

Worst, and most importantly, my opponent flies his shaken raider over my men's heads and lands it square on the objective.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 5

So, there went my confidence from the beginning of last turn. I'm basically now in the absolute worst case scenario: both of my blob squads are tied up in close combat, and he has captured the objective with a raider. I have exactly 1 chance to stop that raider before he turboboosts away, never to be seen again.

Just at the point of recovery, my precious standard fluttered away. Caught in the wind, it was seized upon by an enemy vehicle. I nearly came to the point of using language of abuse as I ordered my men to bring the vehicle down. Calmer nerves prevailed however, and any coarseness was checked by my gentlemanly nature.

In all things, politeness.

In shooting I use bring it down on my CCS, but the meltaguns are out of range. I then bring it down on the PIS, making it's flamer twin-linked, with the hope of getting in a meltabomb on the charge. Unfortunately the flamer didn't manage a 6 for a glance. Then I looked at my manticore. I secretly praised myself for saving its last shot the turn before, but deeply questioned using it now. This was pretty much the definition of danger close, and if I hit my own guys, there was a chance that they wouldn't be able to assault.

In the end, I took a deep breath, let the casualties be damned, and shot my rockets at his raider. The manticore scored a HIT! The resulting blast flattened the raider! In jubilance, I shot my basilisk at the other nearby raider, and also hit! This, however, only managed a glance (really), which immobilized the vehicle (good enough).

In assault, my power blob #1 once again failed a single kill on his warriors. The priest, however, rejoined the fray and three rerolling eviscerator things put an end to his warrior nonsense. I now had three squads, one of which a power blob, with a straight shot at the objective. Victory at hand!

After this point, the field looked like this:

In his turn, the objective moved again... 17 inches... AWAY FROM MY TROOPS!

The rest of his turn sees his lone mobile raider moving over to intercept, while his raider squad in the tower shoot at my basilisk, but patter the shot off cover (he had fired 4 of his 5 shots at the basilisk, two of which missed, one of which failed to pen (when I had the basilisk pointed at his wyches), and this one, which bounced off of cover).

In assault, my huge non-powered blob of dudes manages to take down his warriors.

After this point, the field looked like this:

With sweaty, sweaty palms, I roll to continue on to turn 6, and I make it.


TURN 6

My turn began with the objective moving 10" away from my troops AGAIN, bouncing into the side of the board.

At this time, my frustrations are running high. I've basically tabled his army, and it still might end in a draw due to the goofiness of the mission. This of course gives me an idea. Perhaps I should simply focus on tabling his army and claw out a victory by default.

Thus inspired, I moved both of my power blobs over to handle his remaining forces. Hopefully between 3 meltabombs, a rerollable meltabomb, and 3 rerollable eviscerator attacks I'll be able to put down his last raider and be free to chase after the flag with the rest of my dudes.

Meanwhile, basically devoid of weapons, my manticore makes a break for the objective. I consider keeping the basilisk where it was in order to focus on causing a tabling, but I keep to my senses and also chase after the flag with a vehicle. There very well could not be a turn 7, and I need that flag to scatter itself onto SOMETHING.

After movement, I launch my grand double assault:

Unfortunately, none of all of the scariness I try to hit him with hits his raider, even after rerolls. Meanwhile, my few forces that I can manage to get up onto the parapet draw combat.

My standard had continued to elude my grasp. Taking control of the situation, I personally lead the way out into open ground to retrieve my colors. Fly as it might, the flag could not elude my grasp forever!

COME BACK HERE!!!

After this point, the field looked like this:

In his turn, the objective moves straight toward my CCS, but only by 6". It's teasing me!

Other than that, the only movement on his part is to move his raider towards the objective. That and my power blob mops up his dudes on the parapet.

After this point, the field looked like this:

And then it happens. I pick up the die to continue on to turn 7. I roll the die, and it comes up a 6!

I roll for where the standard goes, and it flutters directly away from my CCS and bonks into the board edge near where the hill meets it. At this point, my opponent concedes. I have several units nearby that (barring bad luck) have a chance to reach the objective, and meanwhile I've got meltaguns and a basilisk just waiting to blow up his raider (and I might have been able to table the few remaining other models regardless). Plus, it was past 11:00pm - we had been playing for 5 hours. It was time for the insanity to end.


FINAL RESULTS

I had the flag at the end, for an imperial guard victory.

- This game could have gone really badly for me, and I had low hopes for success. With luck going wonky both ways (me seizing the initiative + getting lots of hits with artillery on the one hand, and me failing basically every non-stubborn leadership test and the flag that tried as absolutely as hard as possible to get away from me on the other), I think the deciding factor was movement and shooting on the field.

In my opponent's case, his whole left flank (a big majority of his force) was out for blood, nothing else. Sitting around and shooting at stuff much of the game, and barreling wyches through units in my backfield may have been good vindication for my artillery and surprise infantry outflanking carnage, but it didn't do anything to help him win the game. Meanwhile, I feel like I had the right guns shooting at the right targets, while keeping my serious objective-taking units focused on taking the objectives (indeed, I was tempted to outflank Rhamael further down to take out the wyches in the middle, but had the good sense to keep my eye on the ball). By the time my opponent realized what I was doing and fell back on the objective, I had already run a lot of scary stuff in close enough to brush aside his forces with ease.

- This is my third time using power blobs, and I can only say that I'm becoming more and more impressed with them. The fact that blob #1 could almost never hit with a power weapon and the fact that my opponent failed his first shadowfield test aside, I feel that my blob did exemplary against one of the most destructive close combat units in the game. Having stubborn definitely helped a lot (I lost every round of combat with every squad except for the ones I wiped my opponent in), and when I don't flub my rolls, I know they can do some very respectable damage. That I can outflank them only adds to the joy. I'm considering dropping my mortars (which aren't all that useful unless shooting them at wyches who just piled out of a wrecked raider), and making my 3rd troops choice a power blob.

MVP: While my units mostly worked like clockwork, and many were effective in their roles, this award goes to the right side manticore. Not only did it ruin the right side wych squad's plans (allowing for them to get thinned out by my mortars), but it also was the closest unit to the objective at the end of the game.

Hero of the Game: This one is going to Raust's power blob. Those guys took a lot of casualties (From 22 guys down to just 3), but they stuck in the fight and kept swinging to the very end.

At great personal effort, I pushed on despite great perspiration towards the flag. The breeze lifted, and the colors wafted gently into my waiting arms.

This concludes how I managed to boldly recover my line's standard through personal bravery and guile.

On an unrelated note, the rest of my group captured it's objective, and the fortress fell shortly thereafter. Tea and medals for all.

In grateful service,

Sir Daxos P. Clinton III - KAP, EKS, ICM - Foleran Armies in his Majesty's Royal Dictate.
Blood Conquers All


post facto review

I think that a big reason that the game went the way it did was because my opponent reacted to my guns that I had parked and shot by parking his guns and shooting them. Nobody wins a park-and-shoot game like guard artillery. As such, I think I can safely say that, for whatever reason, I got my opponent to play my game, rather than my opponent getting me to play his.