BATTLE REPORTS - BLOOD CONQUERS ALL - TOURNAMENT 3

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This week saw the end of our 1850 point BRB league, which meant that this weekend was the post-league tournament.

The tournament was on a Saturday, and that Friday night, well, it started to snow.

The unseasonably heavy snowfall continued all through the next day, but was mainly done by that morning. Needless to say, all 12" of powdery inclimatiousness cut down on the number of attendees, but we still had enough to make a full day's showing out of it all.

For my list, I wanted to try something a little different. My core of 4x 20-dude power blobs worked so well, that I knew I couldn't leave home without them, but with 350 points to cut (for obvious time constraints, this was a 1500 point tournament), I knew keeping both all 102 of my little dudes in the fight was going to crowd out lots of my support units. That and for the next league coming up I wanted something that was a little more difficult to tailor against, and this tournament would give me a solid round of testing my idea. As such, my list was pretty straightforward. Power blobs, LRDs, choppy priests. You know the drill.


GAME 1

The first game saw me pitted against the local chaos player, with a better-than-usual list. Something like...

Khorne Lord

MoT marines in a rhino
MoT marines in a rhino
MoT marines in a rhino
MoT marines in a rhino

Vindicator
Obliterator

The missions and deployments were store-wide, and called by the organizer. Round one was Capture and Control, with Dawn of War. My opponent got to go first, but he gave me the honor. At deployment, the field looked like this:

So, it's a little hard to tell, but the two objectives were one on the left-side-white-yin-yang-eldar-swoopey thing (as marked by a tiny pile of rubble), and just to the left of the crates on the left.

I decided to deploy centrally in order to get him to choose one side or the other, and then get nailed in a pincher attack between what I deployed and Al'Rahem, when he arrived. My opponent decided to go all-off.

Turn 1 saw me bring my tanks on, but idiotically forgetting my second power blob. He brought his stuff on the field in a spread-out fashion with the oblit and two MoT squads on the left, with the Khorne Lord, two MoT squads in the center, with the vindicator to the right.

Turn 2 sees me move in towards the left to refuse my right (and to get nearer the objectives, and to concentrate my forces), with Rhamael showing up and slamming into the left:

Shooting saw the three demolishers wrecking one of the rhinos, and Rhamael crapping out on orders. One of the squads didn't look like it was going to make it into combat with the passengers and so shot to minimal effect with lasguns while the other squad charged in and beat the crap out of the obliterator before consolidating further forward.

In return, he attacks all along my line, three MoT squads against three power blobs. Damage is within reasonable limits, with my top-side power blob taking the brunt of the damage.

The top of 3 sees my classic all-in style of assault. Shooting sees my CCS BiD the center rhino, spilling out the contents. All three demolishers hammer the cargo, and while two of them scatter, one still clips some guys and the other scores a hit. Despite 4+ cover, many of them are taken down. Then I launch a grand assault against everything:

Of course, now my opponent was stuck in. As such, I've given him no choice but to send in his khorne lord, while his other rhino and vindicator decide to go on a little flanking maneuver around the center.

Shooting sees his vindicator hit my demolisher, but the shot is stopped by cover. Close combat sees the khorne lord get into the fight...

and roll a very heaping helping of power weapon attacks, putting lots of stuff down in return. In return, my power weapons do lacklustre damage, but manage to whittle the center down to just an injured khorne lord. Meanwhile, assorted casualties happen on the left. He's still got a 5++, but I've still got a lot of power weapon attacks, which rolled decidedly better than average for the rest of this game.

Turn 4 sees me consolidate my Jhonny-come-lately power blob on my objective on the left while my two officer squads melta stuff nearby (including destroying the vindicator with BS4 BiD). My top-blob wins assault and consolidates towards the objective, and the khorne lord punching himself in the face with his demon weapon before being drug down by guardsmen who consolidate onto the other objective.

The bottom of 4 saw him pile out his one MoT squad that he'd kept in reserve and really do a number on what survived of the center blob. That and his rhino which, now devoid of passengers but somehow still alive after several turns of shooting from Rhamael and lascannons, attempt to tank shock Rhamael:

Who just death or glories with a meltagun for an immobilized result.

Meanwhile, my lower blob finished off its marines and consolidated onto the objective:

We would have continued on to turn 5, and possibly a wipe (he had basically a rhino and a damaged MoT squad as all that was left on the table), but at the bottom of 4, the timer read one minute, so we decided to wait it out.

With both objectives, I won this game.

My opponent brought a much stronger list than he usually does, but unfortunately he didn't use it right. One of THE POINTS of mobile lists is to use your mobility to concentrate your forces on just a single part of your opponent. Instead of using his mobility for local superiority, he didn't really use his mobility for anything. He might as well have saved the points on rhinos and fought on foot.


GAME 2

Round two put me against the local DE player, who, while nursing his new army to full-strength has been playing with his Witch Hunter army. This time, the list was something like...

Canonness (with seraphim)
Canonness (with SoB squad)

Seraphim

SoB squad in Rhino
SoB squad in Rhino

Dominions with melta in flamer immolator
Dominions with melta in flamer immolator

Exorcist
Exorcist

This game was annihilation, with spearhead deployment. I got first turn, and snatched it. At deployment, the field looked like this:

My opponent deployed in a symmetrical 2-column formation. I deployed as far forward as I could, with my tanks at the front. Spearhead is, by far, my least favorite deployment type as it's the hardest to pair with outflankers. As such, I've got to just put my strong foot forward, and hope one of my two forces at least can really get in the fight.

Turn 1 sees me move up slightly, but nothing really spectacular. I've got that obnoxious difficult terrain in the way, and the last thing I want is to be snagged in cover while my opponent first-turn-charges me.

In my opponent's turn, he just sort of sits around, only slightly repositioning his forces. His plan, clearly, is to get me to come to him and eat bolter, flamer, and exorcist fire all the way across open ground while being stuck with endless difficult terrain rolls.

His exorcist targets my top-side demolisher and rolls 6 hits. He then rolls two hits, and no better than a 1 to penetrate the demolisher's front armor. At this point, the tournament organizer bought him a new set of dice (which actually did much better than his old ones). Meanwhile, the other exorcist struggles against the AV14 front of my vehicles.

So, I've got to come to him? Little did my opponent's forces realise, I was already RIGHT BEHIND THEM!

Rhamael showed up and had a LOT of targets. For the second time in a row, he throws down boxcars on his orders the turn he arrives. He still blows up an exorcist, though, by shooting it in the butt with regular shooting, the explosion killing many. Meanwhile, the demolishers open up, and, in a freak of shooting, manage to put down 4 "weapon destroyed" results, turning the other executioner into a hull while both of the leading rhinos lose their storm bolters.

Combat saw my 43-dude power blob glee like a kid in a candy store. Assault saw me multi-charge the seraphim, an immolator, the other immolator, and the bottom rhino.

The power weapons do so-so against the seraphim due to acts of faith giving them ++'s, and the frag grenades on the top immolator didn't do much. The bottom immolator, on the other hand, saw a priest and a meltabomb sarge horribly wreck the immolator, while something like 10 rerollable frag grenades picked up a pair of glances which did an immobilization and a second weapon destroyed for a wrecked vehicle.

My opponent replies by keeping his disembarked units around (including 2 canonnesses and two eviscerator veterans) to attack Rhamael's stuff, while the other half of his forces made their getaway.

Combat ground down with me having a hard time getting through the raw number of invul saves (it didn't help that the ones on the canonesses were 2++), and the battle slowly going against me. As such, I put a real effort of getting the rest of my forces into the fight. Of course, this is where spearhead really hurts me.

The end result of the business with Rhamael saw my opponent winning with a 1-wound canonness, and a cannoness with a bolter girl with her. Unfortunately, they were able to preserve all 3 kill points, while taking all 3 from Rhamael. At this point I'm still ahead by 1, though.

In return, my opponent uses his remaining force to smartly block my reinforcements from arriving. Dominions get out and blow up a demolisher.

Of course, having committed his forces against my still very much in tact forces sees him take a lot of damage, including losing the dominions and another vehicle as my forces mobbed over his impromptu road block.

The final stage of the game saw him retreating most of his forces to safety except for a SoB squad whose veteran ran forward and scored a hit on my top demolisher with her eviscerator, dropping the vehicle.

After this point, we were at the bottom of 5, and time was running out, with me being ahead by 1 KP. There wasn't any more KP that my opponent was even vaguely likely to claim, while I had at least one juicy target (that SoB squad) in power blob range. As time was running low, we realised that there was little that was likely to change, and we called it a victory for me.

Yeah, sitting in the backfield and just letting himself get Al'Rahemed was obviously a mistake, but it wasn't AS big of a mistake as it may have first appeared. At no point was my army able to link up, which meant that he could have very easily focused on one side and then the other (which he did. Note how there was nothing left of Al'Rahem in the end, and the end result of the skirmish was nearly a draw, KP-wise).

The real problem, I think, for my opponent was that he got spooked by a bunch of maniacs coming across the board and used his response move to partially retreat from the action, rather than throwing everything in. Instead, he threw just about 1/2 of his army into something like 2/3ds of mine, ensuring that I'd still have the advantage at the end.

Of course, as may have been noticed over the past couple of games, the anti-tank capability of 3 lascannon demolishers is rather intimidating, and not everyone knows what to do in any given situation where half of one's transports are killed and the other half isn't.


GAME 3

Going into the third round, my spirits were pretty high, having come in off of two wins. It is at this point that I am informed that I'm in a 3-way tie for first, and, of course, I'm playing against one of them next. This player brought THE green tide list... OF DOOM!

Boss
Mek with KFF

30 sluggas, nob with klaw, pole
30 sluggas, nob with klaw, pole
30 sluggas, nob with klaw, pole
20 sluggas, nob with klaw, pole
20 grots

10 lootas
10 lootas
10 lootas

In short, the consummate foot ork list. Needless to say, being a horde commander and seeing my army out numbered by 60% was a little unnerving.

The mission was Seize Ground with 4 objectives. The deployment was Pitched Battle. My opponent got first turn and I was only too glad to let him have it. The objectives were the green poker chips.

At deployment, the field looked like this:

Basically, my opponent spread out his lootas and put his 3 30-slugga boy mobs over on the left.

I was stuck. I knew that I would need to either get two solid phases of shooting at 24", one solid FRF from 12", or the charge in order for me to survive against the boyz. They couldn't make it to my lines in tact, and they most certainly couldn't get the charge in when they arrived. I tried to think through the math in my head about how far he was going to get, and deployed my forces a bit behind the front of my deployment zone.

Of course, first turn, he charges in...

95 orks, all sluggas or worse, against 50 guardsmen... Shooting sees his lootas shoot at my Russes, but autocannons are worthless against front armor (my opponent tried to shoot at side armor "because he could see it, and so could choose to shoot at it with giving 3+ cover". I call shenanigans as the vehicle's front isn't obscured in any way, and so the lootas go back to doing nothing.

In response, I move my vehicles as screens, making sure to move more than 6". Unfortunately, all three shots scatter, with one missing altogether, leaving the damage pretty minimal. Tragically, I'm JUST out of 24", with exactly 1 guardsmen being in range, who FRFs to down a single ork.

Turn 2 sees the charge continue. Both lootas roll 3 shots, putting 60 shots down on the left-most russ with rear armor exposed. Despite cover, a glance gets through and stuns the vehicle.

Meanwhile, Rhamael failed to arrive in a timely manner while I got my first round of 24" FRFing. The results were less than stellar.

On the top of three, he moves everything forward, pops waaaugh, and rolls a 6 for all his fleets on his front boyz. This makes them JUST BARELY in range of my right side blob. I didn't get 2 rounds of 24" shooting, and I didn't get a single round of 12" shooting, and I didn't get the charge. Basically the worst case scenario possible.

Then he attacks my vehicles. The russ on the right was auto-hit by the klaw and exploded the russ, but it only blew up a couple of inches, taking down a measly few boyz. Then his boss threw his 5 attacks against my center russ and rolled 3 6's, wrecking his vehicle while the other klaw put down 4 attacks on my final russ and threw down two 6's, blowing up his vehicle for a measly 1" blast.

At least the blob who was charged had few of the boyz get in, so it wasn't just wiped straight away, while my damage in return was likewise scant.

Needless to say, with my opponent scarcely able to roll lower than a 6, things have gotten really bad for me in an awful hurry. When the going gets tough, the tough get bloody.

Al'Rahem makes his only slightly belated appearence and says hello to the third slugga mob (the one that destroyed the left side russ). At least I'd be able to do THIS one right. FRF sees shockingly sparse casualties while a pair of flamers, despite getting 10 hits apiece only puts down a couple of boyz. Regardless, I charge in:

As he didn't get the charge in, he was only I2, which meant that my opponent was on the recieving end of 72 regular attacks and 24 power weapon attacks, half of which was rerollable. The end result, after some good rolling was 26 armor saves and 5 power weapon saves. The handful of orks do light damage and someone is raked with a klaw before the orks, no longer fearless and having lost combat by like 20 quickly flee and are caught in a sweeping advance.

Meanwhile, the other battle goes pretty "meh" for the orks. Lots of guardsmen are killed (down to basically the bare necessities), but not before the guardsmen enact a heavy toll on their 6+ frames.

The only other action was my 3x meltagun team which threw down 2 wounds on his boss, but they were both stopped as he rolled boxcars for his invul saves.

My opponent reacts by taking his third, slightly injured boy squad over to handle Rhamael:

Once again, my opponent is maddeningly just barely in range of close combat. While I don't get the desperately needed round of shooting or the moreso desperately needed charge, at least this distance means that once again not a terribly large number of boyz are in range, meaning the damage is acceptable. A power weapon puts a wound on the boss which sticks, and because my own forces are rather densely packed, I actually put down a reasonable amount of damage on the boyz.

The top of 4 ends with my opponent finishing off the right side blob squad. The 30 sluggas stomped face on all 21 guardsmen, but the long, drawn out battle of attrition was unkind to the boyz, who were now left with about 10 orks left, who consolidate over to block my objectives.

At this point, the time is up, but we still have to go to the bottom of the turn. Knowing that it was all or nothing, I send everything I have into his forces. The squad which had been huddled on the wall on the left moved out of it's hiding place, followed by Daxos and his command squad. Even the nearby PCS chipped in. Al'Rahem charged in against the boyz as well as the blob squad that hadn't managed to get charged the previous turn (but which had been heavily strafed by lootas).

The bottom saw lots of rerollable hits putting down a lot of boyz, and the sheer weight of over an extra squad of non-rerollable attacks, brought the boyz down to just the nob and like 1 survivor, who do sparse damage in return. Having lost combat by oodles, they break, run, and are caught.

Meanwhile, the battle with the boss and the remainder of the sluggas sees Rhamael down a couple with his power weapon while most of the rest of everything attacks the boyz as well, killing almost all of them before they have a chance to strike. Power weapons see two wounds, one of which is stopped by the Boss's invul.

The battle ends with an epic fight between the priest and the boss. The boss throws down 4 attacks for 2 wounds, one of which fails to wound while the other is bounced by the priest's rosarius. The priest puts down 2 attacks for 1 hit and 1 wound. The boss failed his invul save.

Once again, it's down to basically the nob and sparse survivors who simply can't put down enough dice to prevent themselves from losing combat by a boatload. With yet another poor run roll, I sweep them, straight onto my objectives.

At the end, I'd beaten the slugga tide, and reclaimed my objectives, but with a 20-boy slugga mob on one of the other objectives and the gretchin on the last of them, the game ended in a draw.

It's really hard to tell how far away to deploy from a green tide in order to get a single round of 24" shooting and a round of 12" shooting, or a round of 24" shooting and a charge. In this case, it was all determined by two run rolls. The first for my opponent was low, meaning I lost my first round of shooting, and the second round was high, meaning he got into close combat and I lost both my chance at a 12" FRF and a charge. Regardless of the dice, my murder hole play here was pretty poor.

In the end, what made this game anything other than a total disaster for me was keeping cool. Instead of panicking, I took my losses in stride, and consolidated my forces. While he may have gotten in a waaaugh! charge, the response saw 3 blobs fighting against just a single mob, while the turn after saw 2 blobs facing off against one mob and 1.5 uninjured blobs attacking 1 injured mob. In the end, it was maintaining local superiority (thanks in part due to the rugged durability of my blobs) that allowed 102 regular guardsmen to defeat 93 slugga boyz with klaws and 2 choppy ork HQs.

Plus, orks are shock troops. The shock didn't go so well as he wasn't able to get whole mobs in the action on the charge, and once it devolved into a battle of attrition, the result was a startlingly fair fight.

In the end, because we had drawn, we had tied for first. The third of this triumverate tied against the chaos player of the first round, which means that it stayed a 3-way tie for first place. Yay!

- As noted several times, cohesiveness for the purpose of attaining and maintaining force superiority was the most determining factor in this tournament. Yes, blobs are good, but blobs only become GREAT once you ensure that they're never fighting in a fair fight.

Things like transports can obviously help with this (if you actually use them for their intended purpose), but as you can see, they're not required. Whether doing tricks in deployment, making use of outflankers, or simply running and counting distances properly, victory and the avoidance of defeat are most certainly easier when you always bring more to any given engagement than your opponent.

- The demolishers were kind of cool, but I'm not yet sold on them. They did a pretty good job trashing vehicles, but even with AV14/13, of a total of 9 tank-engagements, I lost 5 destroyed and 1 immobilized. A 2/3ds casualty rating is pretty high, and this was even with me keeping on the move. Unlucky, sure, but still...

Their firepower was also a little underwhelming, but it did crack vehicles with a vengeance. Even with mediocre results on the damage table, they were able to seriously cramp the style of my opponents. I'm not yet convinced that 2 LRDs are better than 6 ogryn with fist LC for the same price, but I suppose that's what this upcoming league will be used to determine.

MVP: Rhamael was obviously highly useful in this game, especially against the orks, but the real award here goes to my priests. Game 1 made sure that even though my opponent had 5++'s on everything, I was putting down enough hits with them on the charge that my opponent was quickly dwindled to the point where attrition could kill them in a timely manner. In game 2, giving Rhamael's stuff rerolls ensured that I at least claimed the KP from the seraphim before I went down, while the rerolling of frag grenades gave me an extra KP. Also, both eviscerators scored a KP of their own that game, meaning that I owe 2/3ds of my KP from that game to my priests. Finally, in game 3, rerolls were basically the only thing that made sure that the boyz had been thinned out in both close combats so that they couldn't do enough damage at I2 to stop them from running. Plus, the eviscerator duel at the end of the game was pretty boss, and ensured that I'd be able to consolidate onto my objective for the draw.

Hero of the Game: This award goes to Raust. In the first game, he bravely took after MoT marines and stuck in it all the way through to victory, with him personally sitting on the objective, even though most of his squad lay as a bloody mass on the burning wreckage of a rhino. Turn 2 saw him unable to actually score the extra KP, but due to his leadership (he had to shoot a sergeant), the squad stayed, which meant that my opponent freaked and split his forces. Game three saw him ultimately fall to slugga boyz, but his noble sacrifice (and, once again, the sacrifice of one of his attending sergeants) fatally delayed the center slugga squad, splitting them off from the main attack in the crucial final battle.

Anyways, I hope you liked the rundown. Next week will be a free game, followed by the beginning of our winter league.