BATTLE REPORTS - BLOOD CONQUERS ALL - 35

To view the Blood Conquers registry, click here.

As by now you know, I've gotten new new dice recently. The gold-colored ones are some nice Koplow, which are fine, but still in the price range of regular dice. I also got a small wad of cash for my recent birthday. I was going to spend it on a bottle of scotch, but instead I spend some of it on the Koplow's, and the rest on some very shiny precision backgammon dice from Zontik. I had to wait extra long for them, but it was worth it. I seriously spent like a half an hour before the game just looking at these things luxuriously glinting in the sunlight.

Whether their 3/10000" tolerances will improve my game or not is almost immaterial. So... pretty...

Anyways, this game saw the conclusion to our Rules of Engagement escalation league. This last game saw me pull up against our resident Loganwing player.


THE CHALLENGER: 2+ or no +
1500 pts.

Logan Grimnar, Beater of Face

6 termies, mostly with power weapons
5 termies, mostly with power weapons
5 termies, assorted weapons
5 termies, assorted weapons
(Most terminators were upgraded with storm bolter+power weapon, with some THSS and a couple claws. Some cyclone missiles were also present)

Land Raider Crusader

THE DEFENDER: APPLY THE ARMOR SAVES!
1500 pts.

CCS, lascannon, MoO

PCS, lascannon
power blob with 2x melta gun
power blob with 2x melta gun

PCS, lascannon
power blob with 2x melta gun
power blob with 2x melta gun

Leman Russ Vanquisher, hull lascannon, sponson heavy bolters
Leman Russ Exterminator, hull lascannon, sponson heavy bolters
Leman Russ Exterminator, hull lascannon, sponson heavy bolters

The deployment for this game was one of our table corners options. My opponent's mission was to capture two randomly determined objectives. To his misfortune, the ones that were randomly rolled for were both mine (the blue ones). My mission was to capture more objectives than my opponent (blue or pink). Both of our secondaries were to have a unit in our opponent's deployment zone.

My opponent won the roll to go first.

At deployment, the field looked like this:

My opponent deployed first with everything in a line along his DZ edge with a squad of termies in reserve apparently holding his objective. This mission is likely going to be tough for him simply because he has to wade through an awful pile of guardsmen to make it to my objectives in the rear. That said, he DOES have a lot of power weapons on terminators, and that land raider full of grimnar and 6 termies is the wildcard to look out for.

In response, I pack my guys in, as usual. I deployed one of my PCSs out in front of everything else, though. I didn't know for certain what my power blobs would be doing, and I wanted to keep a non-blob scoring unit near my other objective just in case.

My mission here is to have more objectives than my opponent, not all of the objectives (or even a majority of them). I start my planning conservatively, as me holding 1 objective to his 0 will still net me the win. Really, if I can defend my center objective to the death, I'll probably be fine, as it's going to take some serious shenanigans to punch through to my backfield ones (although, given my luck of old against land raiders...). Of course, my opponent could dash this plan if he keeps some terminators back to hold his objectives, but I can't count on my opponent being so foolish as to leave 1/5 of his forces completely out of the fight.

Assuming he rushes me with everything, I cast my lot on holding my center, with some power blobs on the wings moving up later in the game to help ward off any possible 1-terminator-squad-messing-with-two-objectives nonsense, and, of course, to get my secondary.

I roll to seize the initiative, and fail.


TURN 1

Raust Melios Carissander - Commissar, 124th Foleran Infantry Regiment

After weeks of incompetence and ineptitude, Marshal Clinton had finally "lead" his forces to voctory. Mt. Cos was securely in my grasp, and minimal expenditure of ammunition was required to requisition the labor to help repair the shrine of His Most Holy and Beurocratic St. Eusebius of Silika.

The marshal had then refused to attack through fog and waited for reinforcements to arrive. When the fog lifted, I could plainly see that my enemy had used the mist to cover a cowardly retreat. What remained of the reverse slope now ours, I lead several "unordered" charges down the mountain.

As we approached the bottom of the range, we were met up by the only elements of Clinton's reinforcements that could possibly catch up with my bombastic and athletic charge down the mountainside. Finally, a couple of heavy vehicles to follow me into battle!

It was not long before I made it to the main road at the bottom of the foothill. The wretched traitor had left some units stationed as rear-guards as the remainder of their supplies were escaping across a small river a few miles down the road. Of course, the only rear that needed guarding was theirs, against my steel-shod boot. Having experienced my awesome power, they would no doubt be rectally bleeding for weeks to come.

I paused only for a moment as Daxos desperately ordered me to halt to allow the rest of his whiny cowards to catch up. Soon, I was ready to lead the attack. I took time to work on my "Attack like your life depends on it!" pose as the Leman Russes wheeled up behind me.

I had been anticipating a single thrust through the center of the board, but my opponent begins by attacking my forces in width.

Shooting sees storm bolters predominantly out of range, but his cyclone missiles cause assorted casualty.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Having spotted us, the enemy finally decided to grow a pair and attack for once. A couple of panicky soldiers up and down the line started shooting lasguns at their advance. I will deal with them later.

In the mean time, I prepared my angry pointing pose and was about to throw my men into the battle like a box of toothpicks against a forest fire. I was just about to give the command when suddenly the air exploded around me. With awesome power, all three russes unleashed the totality of their weaponry on the enemy. As the exterminator cannons fired up to full speed he air became an indefinable, blasting scream. After careful consideration, it was the fifth loudest thing I'd heard in my life (second if you don't count women).

The sheer shock of the blasting caused my men to involuntarily flinch towards the ground. The concussive waves of brute force knocked my hat off my head as I stood sternly, unphased by the terror around me. In disgust, I retrieved my hat and fired a few bolt rounds into the nearby Russ. The rounds were ineffective. I will deal with the Russ commander later.

In my turn, I stay stock still. The only exception is a couple of meltagunners moving to the front of a blob. I don't want to commit my forces until I know for certain what's going on. Haste makes waste, after all. That and I want a couple of turns to soften him up before I really get into it, and, given that my opponent is coming at me, advancing would only reduce this time.

Shooting begins with me needing to handle my opponent's ace: the land raider. Orders start with FoMT on the land raider (which was foolish, as the MoO doesn't grant cover anyways in this case), which sees the master of ordnance scatter off and the CCS lascannon miss outright. The vanquisher then chips in and misses with its main cannon, but hits with the lascannon, which does nothing. I then throw my PCS lascannons at it. One of them hits and scores a glance, which isn't stopped by cover. My new saffron dice apologize for the crappy hit rolling by pulling up an immobilized result on the land raider.

Then I turn towards the terminators. Deciding that I'd actually rather fight in the middle, where I'm strongest (even though that's where he's strongest as well), I decide that the first target of destruction would be the leftmost terminators threatening my left power blob. The equivalent of 12 heavy bolter, 16 autocannon and 2 lascannon shots rain down on them, supported by a dozen or more FRF lasguns. While the stormshield terminator shrugs off both lascannons, due to the sheer volume of fire, he fails a couple of armor saves.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 2

Uncertain of what to do with Grimnar, Lord of Spikes, he decides to keep the termies inside the land raider. Everything else moves forward.

In shooting, he now has a fair number of storm bolters in range which are helped by more missiles. Cover helps keep casualties down somewhat.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In my turn, my opportunity becomes more apparent to me. With the way my opponent's forces are disposed, if I work fast enough, I might be able to take down his forces piecemeal. To this end, I move my left side power blob forward, looking to charge in against the terminators I'd dinged last turn. The only other movement is my right side blob coming back in a little (they were in single-tap range of hurricane bolters the turn before).

Shooting starts with my big guns unloading on his terminators (the Master of Ordnance refrained from shooting this round). Seven lascannon equivalent shots put down 3 wounds, all of which are again stopped by the stormshield. Thankfully, though, so many wounds were applied to that squad once the exterminators and heavy bolters throw down that the stormshield dude fails an armor save. Unfortunately, the huge torrent of fire failed to produce any other failed armor saves.

I prepare to charge in with the left side power blob, but actually take a moment to reconsider. One of the ways that I have (hopefully) matured as a power blob player is not always immediately rushing to charging everything at the absolute first opportunity. Without priests in my squads, and with countercharge in his, I don't actually have as much to gain by running straight into assault. Plus, of the two dudes left, one of them has lightning claws.

As such, I instead opt to shoot at them. Two meltaguns see one failed cover save, ending the lightning claws dude while sportly lasgun fire adds a couple of armor saves, which add to the 2+-o-rama of earlier.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 3

The top of three sees my opponent make up his mind about what to do with Grimnar. Some disembarking and running sees an angry wad of terminators charging up center field.

The wretched foe marched implacably toward me. I stood fast in the way of their advance. I burned to charge straight into them and hack them to bloody chunks, but this would invariably cause a great degree of friendly fire from the Russ behind me. While the loss of men might be considered unfortunate, the loss of a member of the commissariat would be intolerable. Indeed, the whole battle would certainly be lost were I to fall.

For the time, they would have to be brutalized by heavy arms before they were brutalized on my power weapon.

In shooting, my opponent unloads with a squad of storm bolters into Raust's blob, but cover saves work, and the casualties are kept light. Meanwhile, his lone terminator on the left hosed a couple of guardsmen with his storm bolter before charging in:

This lone dude, however, was equipped with a power fist, and a flurry of power weapons cut him down before he got a chance to strike.

The squad rolled high for consolidation. I feel a slight urge to wheel the squad around further to the left. That way they'll definitely be in my opponent's deployment zone for the secondary, and might be able to capture his backfield objective. Not wanting to present a tempting target to my opponent, and desiring maximum carnage against his nearest terminator squad next turn, my left side blob bursts through the hedges towards my waiting foe...

After this point, the field looked like this:

By now, it was the bottom of three, which meant that play time was over. I was now only a couple of turns away from needing my opponent neutralized, and something worth having in his deployment zone.

My infantry make a big shift to the left, while the left side blob charges in.

The Leman Russ behind me stopped firing for a moment. No doubt they had let their cowardice dictate the amount of ammunition they carried in each magazine, requiring them to reload. Sensing the moment upon me, I stormed forward. Inspired by the gloriole of excellence exuding from my body, the troops everywhere around charged in with me.

Shooting sees me unload the maximum level of damnation against the terminators in the middle of the board. Not being certain that I had 6", Raust's blob picks up FRF and 4 meltagun, 7 lascannon, 16 autocannon, 18 heavy bolter, 36 las shots PILE on my opponent. With no storm shield in the squad, and my opponent finally failing a couple of armor saves, the squad is quickly whittled down to just one dude, who is charged by my left-side blob. The termie puts down some power weapon damage before being horribly drug down by the mob.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 4

My opponent begins the turn by continuing to throw his tactical dreadnought armored gauntlet down the chute.

In shooting, he unloads everything against my left side blob which, unlike the last close combat, did not get a good consolidation roll. The nearby termies really hurt, but I got cover saves against the shots from Grimnar's squad, and the hurricane bolter from the land raider. Surprisingly, there are still remnants of the blob squad left alive to be charged.

Who are then immediately wiped out in a fury of preferred enemy wolf claw and frost axe attacks.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In response, I move my infantry up some more. I peel off Raust, as he's the closest to my opponent's deployment zone, and keep him in melta range, but get ready to make a break for it. I can only hope I'm not too late.

For how brutal my firepower was the preceding turn, this turn I brought even more of it. This time, all five terminators hit the dirt before I even needed to blast them with Raust's meltaguns, so I run with him instead. Where once was a grave threat, there is now silence...

I watched as my foes stopped in the face of implacable fire. As they slowed, one by one they began to fall into pools of their own gore. So shameful were they, that I spit towards them and lead my troops onward. Those pathetic cowards weren't even worth my disemboweling rage. I let lesser men finish them off.

Meanwhile, I had the real objective in mind: the road. I brazenly charged forward, ready to take the objective by glorious force.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 5

In my opponent's turn, he continues on with his strategy: slowly advancing while laying down a curtain of small arms fire.

Damage is once again well within the limits of acceptable.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Movement starts with me developing my thrust. Raust moves up on the left, while the right side power blob moves up to his land raider. In the middle, I throw a power blob in to bog down my opponent and prevent him from snagging one of my objectives should the game continue to turn 6. I also move my forward PCS up a bit, just to make sure he's got a model within 3" of the center objective.

Shooting starts with running. I want to make sure I have a unit in my opponent's deployment zone, with a spare just in case.

Raust spares a moment to sneer at his foe as he continues to charge across the field.

As my opponent's forces are no longer much of a threat, I spare my CCS to shoot at his land raider (especially since the meltaguns right next to it ran). This guy only shot like twice up until this point, and BiD sees the shot hit the land raider, along with the lascannon. The lascannon is stopped by cover, and I get ready to score a much-coveted land raider kill with my off-board artillery, but neither of the two dice rolled showed up at least a 5.

The rest of shooting is pretty much the same. With only one blob, and with fewer lascannons and meltaguns, the damage is mostly wrought by a couple of failed armor saves from the endless pounding deluge of my Leman Russes.

After this point, the field looked like this:

My opponent rolls to continue, and for what feels like the first time in quite a while, the game actually continues to turn 6.


TURN 6

Turn sees Grimnar strut up to my blocking blob. For the first time this game, my opponent is able to get in a charge on his own terms.

The damage is brutal. A nearly unhurt power blob feels the brunt force of a 100% hit ratio with his preferred enemy power weapons, and that was after eating storm bolters. In the end, I have only two wounds left.

I'd keep them locked in close combat, but if there's a turn 7, that will just ensure that the game ends on my opponent's terms. I decide to break the blob. 2 sarges throw down their power weapon attacks for zero hits, and then promptly flee.

After this point, the field looked like this:

The bottom of six sees my two flanking blobs slide gracefully forward. Raust easily makes it deep into my opponent's deployment zone, while the other blob, deciding it can't also make it, moves over towards the top-center objective.

Shooting starts with an ineffectual bout of CCSing against the raider, followed up by 2 meltagun shots. They both hit for a pen and a glance for an immobilize and weapon destroyed result (which was really a vehicle wrecked and immobilized result. I can't believe I forgot Ap1).

Everything else that's available, which by now is not much, unloads into grimnar. For how good my opponent's armor saves were earlier in the game, they equally fail him now, seeing Grimnar killed by a pair of failed armor saves (of the seriously like 2 he had to make), along with an invul save. The rest of the squad also takes casualties, leaving a single, lonely terminator still on the board.

After this point, the field looked like this:

My opponent rolls to continue, and we do not.


FINAL RESULTS

My opponent did not control either of my two objectives, and didn't have a unit above half strength in my deployment zone. Meanwhile, I definitely controlled more objectives than my opponent, and also managed to plunk a unit in his deployment zone for an Imperial Guard victory.

- It may be a little difficult to see from this report, so let me throw down a couple of numbers here. Over the course of this game, I fired 99 heavy bolter shots, the equivalent of 72 autocannon shots, and the equivalent of 22 lascannon shots at my opponent's terminators from my Leman Russes ALONE. If things roll as average, that should have accounted for 16 terminators. Throw in the 19 lascannon shots from everything else for 5 more, and the handfuls of meltagun, power weapon, and lasgun attacks mean that the end result of this was me doing an amount of damage SHOCKINGLY close to average. Precision dice, I suppose...

- But it wouldn't have worked if I didn't have time. This game, I brought a little shy of 800 points of close combat goodness, while my opponent brought more like 1300. Not optimized to take down terminators, my russes especially were a serious liability to me this game. Had my opponent gotten into close combat quickly, they would have made FAR less of an impact this game.

But that was the problem. Despite outspending me by 50% on close combat, my opponent used the strategy he always uses. Instead of "move, run, move run" like a person who wants to get into close combat, my opponent practiced "move, shoot, move, shoot", which basically meant that it was going to take him twice as long to make it into close combat. This gave me the vital time window I needed to make my russes actually useful this game.

Wanting to be a shooty commander doesn't actually mesh all that well with a Loganwing, it seems to me. My opponent wisely noted that he was going to start including some regular power armor in the future. If what you want to do is shoot bolters, regular marines are a FAR better way to go about it than storm bolter+frost axe terminators.

MVP: By far, the left side power blob. Not only did they finish off two terminator squads, but they also played speedbump to a third, buying me enough time to absolutely obliterate them with firepower the next turn. With these three squads thus handled, the only bother left was Grimnar.

Hero of the Game: The remaining center power blob. They walked up to Grimnar, stood their ground, and got beaten in the FACE. Their noble sacrifice saved my opponent from running over the exposed PCS at the end of the game. Those two power weapon sergeants didn't retreat, they walked away tall, knowing their job was complete.

I made it to the road and turned around, seeing who had dared follow my bold and excellent lead. Behind me, there lay only ruined enemies and stragglers in my mighty wake.

Taking the initiative, I boldly sprinted the last few miles up to the bridge only to find it treacherously destroyed by enemy sabotage. I prepared to wade in the water, only to find that I had lost the entirety of my regiment in my advance.

Considering engineering the greater part of discernment, I held the twisted stumps of the bridge until such a time as I could obtain a replacement.

I eagerly await my next assignment. In faith,

-Raust Melios Carissander, Imperial Commissar


Now that the league is over, I'd also like to impart some of the lessons I've learned in general from the past couple of months.

- HWSs really are crap. They synergize well with a CCS (better than I'd anticipated), but they're still just crap. Sure, I had some bad luck, but still. Crap.

More importantly, one of the things I discovered is that HWSs do not, in fact, target saturate with the rest of the infantry. All of my opponents' anti-tank weapons were nearly always placed squarely at them, what with being instantly-killable, having few models, and having low morale. Really, HWSs dont' target saturate with regular infantry any more than AV12. In fact, HWSs and AV12 synergize better with each other than with platoons, as they both compete for what to shoot mid-strength weapons at.

Do not be fooled by the fact that they're technically infantry, and the fact that they come from your infantry platoons.

- Meltaguns in power blobs are good things. At first, I was loathe to spend the extra points over meltabombs, but the past couple of games really showed me why they cost more. Not only does the 18" threat range mean that I actually get to use them, but, and this is far more important, I can use them against things that are not also vehicles. Not to say that there never was melta shot at vehicles over this league, but the big majority of the shots they made were directed towards obliterators, demon princes and terminators. Being able to force invul saves (that ID T4, no less) has been more than a little helpful.

When I took meltabombs, I did so as an insurance policy against vehicles, when I take meltaguns, I take them to bolster their killing power against things that they are only sort of good against. This frees up points to spend on support units that can handle things that power blobs just aren't able to handle by themselves.

- As you can see over the past games, I've been playing my power blobs differently than usual. Without priests and meltabombs, there is less of an incentive to just straight up assault as fast as possible. Now, I can carefully weigh the situation, and choose to shoot when that's better, especially once I threw in meltaguns. Back in the day, charging wasn't always the best, but the priest over-ruled this. Plus, the rerolls would ameliorate the fact that I was still charging into lightning claws, or whatever. I'm starting to consider a more flexible power blob that has the option to shoot my opponent and then take the charge from my opponent as being the superior way of doing things.

- Also, my opinion towards blobs has also matured a bit over the course of this league, and not just because I occasionally shoot with them. Careful notice of what damage my blobs have done in the past 8 games yields the end result of "not a lot". Maybe it's just the rules of engagement, but I've been finding that I'm starting to play with my blobs more and more as troops choices first, frenetic attrition monsters second. Even though I'm not really spending much more on support units than I always have been, they've been slowly taking on a greater share of doing the damage, while the troops choices have been spending more time eschewing close combat to do other things.

Have I merely lost confidence in my blobs? I hope not. I definitely don't consider them as invincible as I once did, but I'd like to hope that my play is becoming more sophisticated, rather than simply more timid.

- The Master of Ordnance is actually pretty cool. His luck has been rather shoddy over the last few games, but the CCS as a whole is pretty well put together. Having a twin-linked BS4 lascannon means that I usually hit, even when the MoO scatters widely off, and I've taken down a fair number of vehicles with this configuration. Plus, sometimes the MoO DOES hit stuff, and that just makes him loltastic, if not also occasionally effective in excess of his cost.

More importantly, I FINALLY have a CCS configuration that I actually like. I was getting pretty tired of the 3x meltaguns+astropath doing NOTHING every game (apart from calling in reserves). Now, at least, it feels like they actually make their points back.

- More or less, the same is true of my heavy weapon PCSs. Yeah, just a BS3 single shot weapon, but at 40-50 points, they don't have to do a lot to make me feel like they're contributing something more than target saturation. Now, at least, they're also tending to control objectives for me.