BATTLE REPORTS - PUBLIC GAME - 21

Hey everyone. Welcome to my 21st game. To view my last game, click here. To view my next game click here. To view my batrep registry, click here.

This game is sort of a tactical exhibition, as I was playing against someone who had never played before. I would hope that this could be a useful lesson for new people in general, especially when facing shooty armies with assaulty ones.

Unlike usual, this is a 500 pt. game.

THE CHALLENGER: aw, bugger!

1 group of 10 hormagaunts
1 group of 10 termagaunts
1 group of 6 genstealers w/broodlord
3 groups of 3 spore mines (one group of each type)

THE DEFENDER: Foleran 1st

Army HQ
  - SO with bolt pistol, powersword
  - Priest with carapace armor, eviscerator
  - Veteran with standard
  - Flamer

Platoon HQ
  - JO with storm bolter
  - Autocannon

3x Infantry squads
  - grenade launchers, heavy bolters

Autocannon Sentinel

I pulled a hat trick for pre-game dice rolls. After deployment, the field looked like this:


For a hi-res copy, click here.

So, a few things to note about this deployment. Firstly, the buildings make there be a swiss cheese effect. Shooty armies will have to deploy in such a way where every unit can cover at least two "holes", while assaulty armies are going to want to move in such a way where they end each turn behind cover. As well, you have to be very careful to avoid moving into the "holes" that your shooty opponent is going to be covering.

As well, this is a classic case of unit number imbalance. If you are like me, where you have twice the number of units as your enemy, the tried and true method of deployment since ancient days is to spread out. In this way, you have part of your forces in the action, while the unengaged units act as reserves that are already close to the action. As well, using this method will tempt your opponent to attack the units that he's good at attacking, which means he will have to spread his units out, allowing shooty armies to focus their fire, and destroy whole units of the enemy at a time. For the outnumbered opponent, you really sort of have to keep together, and be able to move in a single, coordinated push into one part of the enemies line (preferably a flank).

Now, I want you to take a close look at my deployment as far as how I created fire lanes. The green lines represent fields of fire, with the greener areas representing places where the fields overlap more.

Against a shooty army, it is vital both during and after deployment to consider your opponents firing lanes. You will most immediately notice a few things from this image.

The first is that there are a few holes in my firing lanes. No matter how much I stretched out my own force, there was nothing I could do about those three buildings in a " \ " formation in the middle that simply blocked my line of sight. These are the kinds of places that you will want to end your turn on, as they are the only true "safe" zones on the battlefield. Shooty commanders must realise that this is the route that assaulters are likely to take (in fact, you can sort of direct your opponent's assault by how you create "safe spots", which you can use to your advantage). Once you know which route your opponent is likely to assault you through, it is important that you re-position your firepower so that you can focus more on those lanes (although, you have to be careful to not go overboard in case your opponent suddenly decides to change direction to exploit the new firing lanes you've set up).

The second is that there are "hot spots" in my firing lanes. These are places where several units can shoot at the same place. In this case, it is the zones just to the left and right of center building (espeically in front of the red building). Any unit that goes into that spot can be hit by 3 heavy bolters, two autocannons and a stormbolter. In short, there will be a mess, and I'll be causing it. Note that these zones tend to exist more towards the center of the line, but not so much on the side where it's more difficult (due to LOS and weapon range restrictions) to create crossfire (thus attacking on a flank is usually better). Assaulters must avoid these "hot" zones at all costs. The only time that you want to put something there is if you have something that's really tough, and really expendable. This makes it so that your opponent is likely to waste a lot of firepower (as a lot of things can shoot at it) on a unit that is able to absorb the punishment, but doesn't have a lot of tactical use otherwise. To say it again, putting things into opponent's lane of fire is good for distraction: while they are shooting most of their guns at your carnifex, or wave serpent, the rest of your army charges forwards with more safety. As far as shooty armies are concerned, you can rest comfortably with the knowledge that your assauly foe won't enter certain parts of the battlefield (letting you focus on other parts), and if they do, you'll likely get some easy victory points. Beware the distraction, though, as your REAL threats will be coming at you from the blind spots in your firing lanes from behind cover, etc.

TURN 1

Melchoir looked at the broken buildings that once housed a vibrant village. It was sad, really. So many lives lost. So much destruction. So much displacement. So much suffering.

The war was grinding down. The predominantly tyrannid force had been controlled to a single sub-continent, and the agents of the myriad third parties of necron, tau and orcs had been shot off the planet. The worst part, Melchoir thought, was the number of times that there had been miscoordination among imperial forces and the number of renegade space marines that they had enountered. Why the Emperor cared about this lonely rock, Melchoir would never know.

The Foleran First had been taken out of the frontline rotation, and was assigned to be one of the first wave to leave the planet for redeployment elsewhere. There was still some cleanup work to do, though, as the quick advances, and confusing defeats had left small, scattered pockets of resistance behind the front lines. The regiments that were called up for redeployment were broken down to the platoon level, each platoon being assigned a villiage, or some other strategic point to clear up before they left.

And so there was Melchoir, on his last mission. His thoughts drifted to all of the battles he had fought over the planets surface. He also thought about his men. The Foleran Army re-levy was coming up soon. He knew who was coming back, but he knew that most of them would return to Folera to go about leading their lives. He spared a moment to think of the dead.

A voice crackled in over the micro-vox. "Sir, there is a brood of tyrannid creatures up ahead. This place was still infested after all". "Allright," Melchoir replied, "Everyone fan out. Let's form up a line and sweep through the village."

In my movement phase, I start by moving my platoon HQ up so that not only do I have cover, but I as well have a firing line that isn't disturbed by area terrain. As well, I move my own assaulty unit (my HQ) up behind the building in front of them more. Also, I realise that my opponent is unlikely to run an assault up my right (although that wouldn't be a bad idea), so I move my right-hand squad up to reinforce the right-side firing lane.

In shooting, I fire my autocannon and my right side heavy bolter down at the genestealers, killing three of them.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In my opponents moving phase, he started by moving his hormagaunts closer to his genestealers. This is a good idea, especially when you want to make a coordinated assault against a stretched out enemy line. As well, these units stayed behind the red building, which meant that I couldn't really get a good shot at them with anything.

The termagaunts then moved up into the building. Also not a bad move, as they are still in a pretty safe place. The only problem with this movement is that it is likely to slow down an assault a little bit (as we will see later).

The genestealers move over to the right a bit. This move appears to have been made out of fear for the lives of the genestealers. While it DID only leave one autocannon able to see them, the sentinel was going to be able to move 6" over to the left, so they didn't really get into any better cover this turn. This was probably a mistake, since the whole point was to make them safer, and it didn't, while at the same time not really getting them much closer to an assault (close combat obviously providing safety from gunfire).

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 2

Melchoir raced forwards. The sounds of 30mm cannon fire blasted around them as they approached the building. Sanario looked forwards around the corner. The priest turned and faced the command squad. "Men, this is the last time that we will be able to show the will of the Emperor here. Now is the time to give a final purification to this land. Now is your last chance to show your emperor and your king the abilities of a man of Folera." The command squad began to advance under cover of autocannon fire:

In movement, I start by moving my command squad closer. This is a chance to expose a bit of a psychological lesson. If you have been paying attention to my battle reports, you will notice that when things don't look like they will be going anywhere, I try and make things interesting. The safe, solid move would have been to leave the command squad back, as I KNOW he needs to charge into me to get into assault, but attack through restlesness is one of my faults as a general. If he knew this, it might have been somehow possible to use this to his advantage.

As well, I moved my sentinel over (to open a path for my command squad, and to see the genestealers) and ran forwards with my already mobile infantry squad. The proper move here would have been to move up into the building and then prepare to use heavy bolters against the incoming termagaunts. Once again, restlessness compelled me to move my forces forwards.

In shooting, my autocannons are joined by the heavy bolter from the left hand squad, and another three genestealers go down. He is continuing to pay for sitting in an Imperial Guard shooting lane.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In my opponent's turn, he started by rolling in one of his spore mines, but they scatter too far away to do anything.

He was then approached by another tyrannid player who had noticed his "indecisiveness" in movement. He told my opponent that tyrannid need to be charging forwards and quickly getting into close combat. This causes my opponent to move his hormagaunts forwards, and his termagaunts forward 5" through the building. As well, the other gamer convinced my opponent to simply charge forwards with his broodlord in an attempt to get into close combat sooner.

A note to assaulters: just because you haven't picked a target, or haven't moved forwards quickly enough, or are getting shot at does NOT mean that you should simply move forwards. One mistake need not beget another. Let's take another review of the battlefield now:

You will notice that a few things are different now. The first thing to note is that I have brought in my squad from the right, now, which means that I have a lot more firepower concentrated on the right hand side (all the while shrinking the safe zone behind the building in the middle). As well, my command squad has moved up which threatens an area around them (the green arc) with a potential close combat attack. This means that the two most dangerous places on the board just became more dangerous. Note that my opponent's headlong rush brings his units dangerously close to my most effective kill-zones.

In the case of the assaulter at this point, your only real options are to notice that I've consolidated my firepower, which means I've left new areas safer in order to make others more dangerous. After your opponent adjusts like this, it is even more important to hop between holes in the firing lanes, as well as consider new options for flanking, or attacking in areas that are now covered more poorly.

In the case of the shooter at this point, you just need to make sure that you haven't created any new gaping holes or opportunities for your opponent. Odds are against this, as early movement usually puts you in a better position by correcting for deployment mistakes, but that doesn't mean that it's impossible.

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 3

In my turn, I start by moving in my left flank a little to attack the hormagaunts, as it's obvious by now that he's committed to a charge up the middle.

I also continue my assault. My assault was structured like this:

I firstly made sure that I had my sentinel nearby. I knew that he would be able to blow the vehicle up with the broodlord's rending attacks, but the vehicle would provide an excellent screen against the hormagaunts. Remember that a gaunt can't hurt an AV10 vehicle. This meant that I could run into the hormagaunts and tie them up in close combat until I could bring in my command squad and my second infantry squad to wipe them out all at once. As well, the sentinel may have been able to put a wound on the broodlord if it survived, or, if it didn't, that would mean that the broodlord would have had to attack the sentinel, rather than the powersword or the eviscerator in the command squad.

Secondly, I brought in the command squad. With 5 rerollable powersword attacks, and 3 rerollable eviscerator attacks, this was the unit that was going to do some serious damage. I made sure to put both the officer and the priest in front so that I would be able to get the most necessary units into base contact.

Thirdly, I brought my infantry squad up in support. Not only can they survive a bit (if they're not charged) but as well gives me a lot of chances to get a lucky wound.

The three of these would provide me with overwhelming force against a single unit, or sufficient force against two units, should the need have arisen.

In shooting, I killed another genestealer, but most of my stuff missed.

"Allright," the priest shouted, "let's CHARGE!" The men of the command squad rushed through the abandoned city street. They were met with the stare of a giant broodlord, which raised its head and let out an inhuman screech.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In his turn, he starts with his other two spore mine sets arriving. One hits dead on and shakes my sentinel, and killing a member of my command squad. The other scatters away, killing one of the members of my advancing infantry squad.

He then continues his charge forwards. On the right, he starts by moving out of the building and then fleeting 3" more. His movement ends in an excellent position. Not only is he close to striking my advancing infantry squad, but they are as well shielded from much of my gunfire. As well, my advancing infantry are now going to have to deal with the threat from the termagaunts, rather than participate in the assault.

On the left, though, he makes a critical blunder. He moves his hormagaunts and his broodlord straight forwards. This leaves his hormagaunts right on the edge, and the broodlord smack in the middle of the most shootable place on the battlefield, as well as being close to the close combat threat from my command squad.

Make sure, when you assault to not run into firing lanes, unless you bring in a lot of distractions (from various places) or something very tough in front. For example, if a carnifex was there, it would probably block too much of my line of sight, while at the same time forcing me to make several target priority tests (and I might just shoot at the carnifex anyways, given how much damage I know it can do).

For the shooters, if everything looks safe, and he's not trying to trick you, then just blaze your guns and enjoy the show.

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 4

Melchoir slowed. "Wait!" he shouted to his command squad. The squad stopped. "No!" the officer shouted, "Timing is everything with these beasts. We can't just run in, we have to wait until it is weakened and hit it just right." The men in the command squad looked at each other, and then at the priest. Sanario looked hard at the officer before turning to the men. "Well," began the priest, "We'll just have to sanctify the ground in a moment, that's all."

I start by moving my shaken sentinel and my command squad back. I didn't think that I could make it all the way across the field and into assault that turn. If I failed to make it into assault, the results would have been disastrous (I'd be short several attacks, and have no re-roll to hits, as well as being mobbed by both broodlord and hormaagaunts). The assault would go from clearly in my favor to tied, at the best. I decide to retreat into my gunline a bit and let my shooters do what they do best. Plus, I now know for certain how he's going to attack me, so I know I'll run into him sooner or later.

Meanwhile, my infantry squad on the right advances. This is one part restlesness, and one part wanting to get all of my infantry to within 12". If you know that you can kill your opponent, or at least seriously hurt him there is no reason to just sit back and let him assault you. It is better if they're weakened by gunfire, than by assaulting into terrain (most of the time).

In shooting, my assault squad manages a couple of kills with its lasguns, while the heavy bolter on the right kills a couple more. Note that this means that my whole right side didn't shoot into the middle. If an assaulter can spread a shooter's firepower over several units, he definitely has an advantage.

My officer's stormbolter manages a wound on the broodlord. I gamble that I can take off two wounds on the charge with my command squad, so I shoot my left hand squad at the hormagaunts killing one or two.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In his turn, he continues to move his units forwards. His termagaunts get very close to my guardsmen, while the units on my left pile in more. Unfortunately, though the broodlord has managed to make it to the edge of the killzone, he is now at much greater risk of a charge from my command squad. The hormagaunts are now right in the middle of the kill zone, which has only been intensified by the fact that I now have lasguns and my grenade launcher on the left within 24" range.

He decides to shoot with his termagaunts, rather than fleet, as he's close enough to charge me anyways. 5 shots render 5 hits with 4 wounds, the last of which is rerolled to a wound. AP 5? Ouch! 5 guardsmen go down.

He tries to charge in with his termagaunts, but finds that he is about a half an inch shy. There are three things that contributed to this. The first is that he only got 5" through terrain early on. The second is that he was forced to take casualties from the front of his mob because my heavy bolter from the right hand squad could only see the guys in the very front (plus, he might have voluntarily taken some from the front when I shot him with my advancing infantry squad (don't do that)). As well, when he shot me with his termagaunt pistols, I removed my models from the front. Even though it cost me my heavy bolter and my grenade launcher, all but totally neutering my squad's firepower, it was worth it if I could keep him out of close combat this turn.

As well, he tried to charge my sentinel with the broodlord, but was about an inch or two shy. He was in range for a leap assault from his hormagaunts, but that would have made it so that he would have been in close combat with my sentinel. I advised him against this, as he'd be doing for me what I would have been trying to do all along. It would be better in this case if he could find some way to attack a target that he could actually hurt (say, my command squad in conjunction with the broodlord).

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 5

The desperate men of the advancing infantry squad charged forwards:

They shot their lasguns wildly forward. Lasbolts bounced off of chitin, and found their mark. From behind them, the heavy bolter continued to spray at the oncoming termagaunts. By the time that the men made it to their foes, all that was left was bleeding corpses.

Meanwhile, the sentinel, the autocannon, the stormbolter on the platoon officer, and two heavy bolters, along with several lasgun shots opened up on the charging hormagaunts. Melchoir had set up his murder zone well, as proved by the shrieks of the hormagaunts as they were gunned down. All that was left was the broodlord:

"Allright! NOW!" Melchoir shouted. The command squad whipped around the building and immediately bathed the broodlord in flame and pistol fire. The beast shrieked as the shots bounced off it's chitin. Shouting, Melchoir started his charge. The beast got the jump on him, sending a pair of scything talons against him. One managed to stab him, while the other talon put a massive gouge in his gold-plated shoulder pad. The officer hacked back at the beast, cutting off its talons. The beast shrieked right before Sanario charged in and hacked the beast into several large chunks with his eviscerator.

In my turn, the trap was sprung. I wiped out 7 of his 9 remaining hormagaunts with heavy weapons fire in the kill zone. I kill off his termagaunts on the right. I charged him in close combat with my command squad. He got two wounds on my officer, one of which was saved (wow). As a note to assaulters, it's almost always best to attack the independent officer in close combat as that usually stops the most serious threat, while rendering the unit much less useful (though not all that much in my case), and with a lower leadership. I reply by hitting once and then rerolling for a full 5 hits, one of which wounds. My priest then gets more than one wound on the broodlord (I wasn't paying attention, but I'm sure that he got properly hacked).

Without synapse, the remaining two gaunts break and run, to be gunned down by my forces in the very near future.

FINAL RESULTS

He took one of my infantry squads down to less than half health, and I killed everything for a victory in my favor.

A few notes:

Firstly, my opponent was playing with the models that come with the Battle for Macragge set that we all told him to get (he already knew he wanted to play tyrannid, and it seemed the most cost effective way to go). You may notice that he had space marines proxying as hormagaunts ;) After the battle, he got a chance to buy some more stuff from a guy that was selling off all of his tyrannid. Given the choice of some raveners, or a squad of 8 gaunts, we told him to get the gaunts. I don't think he'll be disappointed.

Secondly, I compliment him for doing about as well as I did in my first game. Don't worry, it goes up from here ;)

Thirdly, it felt really wierd to play without vehicles. I might have to try it again sometime to get a better feel for my infantry. It was also kind of neat to play a lower points game, as it felt (and most likely was) quite a bit faster.

Anyways, I hope that giving out this tactical advice on the way can be helpful you you, o my opponent (if you're reading this), as well as to newer people in general. I wholeheartedly ask vets to post advice here to further help the future of 40k: the new guys.

Hero of the game: the charging infantry squad. Go!

MVP: The autocannon sentinel. It was really wierd to have an autocannon on my sentinel. I kind of liked it. Too bad that I need lascannons.

Melchoir looked out of the window with his head resting on his arms. The bright, vibrant planet shone large in front of him against the inky blackness of space. It would only be a few hours now until the imperial navy ship would make its drop into the warp, and he would never see the planet again. He stared on with his mind deep in thought as the orbital engines slowly hummed through the bulkheads and piping of the ship.

The door opened behind him, and Sanario walked in. His moustache was finely combed, and he was wearing his first clean garment in months. Melchoir turned in his seat away from the window and nodded at the priest.

"Hello, Sanario."

"Hello, Melchoir," he replied in his somewhat deep voice that he reserved for not shouting. The priest put a bottle of sparkling wine on the small glass table and produced a pair of glasses. Melchoir watched as the priest poured the wine and handed him his glass. The two men picked up the glasses and raised them for a toast.

Melchoir stared at the bubbles for a moment.

"To the king of Folera, and to the Emperor, our god," the priest proposed. Melchoir paused for a moment longer.

"To Folera," he began, "and to the citizens of the imperium, no matter where they are in distress."

The two men drank from their glasses. Melchoir placed his glass on the table and looked back outside for a moment, rubbing the heavy bolter wound in his left arm.

"You know," Melchoir spoke softly, "In a way, I think I'll kind of miss it."

Sanario nodded his head. "Well, at least we know that wherever we go, there will always be a place like this for us in the universe."

The two men continued to look off into space.

Well, that's it. Not only is it the end of game 21, but it is also the end of my time at the Air Traffic in the Burnsville mall. You guys won't be seeing any reports for the next couple of weeks, as next thursday is my bachelor party, the thursday after that is in the middle of my honeymoon, and the thursday after that will be spent making the final preparations for my move to Illinois. Look out, Champaign, here I come!

But allow me to give one final tribute to the players I've played with the last five months. Goodbye, Burnsville mall. I'll miss you all.