BATTLE REPORTS - PUBLIC GAME - REFLECTIONS - 1

This first appeared as a topic on the forum 40konline.com. To return to my batrep registry, click here.

Hey, everyone. I am writing this to be a reflection of my first 10 games that Iíve played with guard, containing lessons learned, along with some other ideas, as well as a request for input as for how I should continue from here. First, here is a registry of my games:

THE STATS

My record after the first set was 8-1-1

Not too shabby for my first set of playing 40k, and with the guard no less. It was good to know that things would look up after my first game ;)

THE LIST

During all of these games, my list has been this:

My Army List (1000 pts.)

Doctrines: None.

HQ

- Junior Officer with bolt pistol + CC weapon
Veteran with standard
(52 pts.)

ELITES

- Stormtroopers (5)*
2x meltaguns, sarge with bolt pistol + CC weapon
Deeptsrike or Infiltrate
(76 pts.)

TROOPS

- Infantry Platoon
    Platoon HQ
       Junior officer with stormbolter, power weapon, surveyor
       Grenade launcher
       Autocannon
    Squad 1
       Grenade launcher
       Heavy Bolter
    Squad 2
       Grenade launcher
       Heavy Bolter

(231 pts.)

- Armored Fist
    Squad
       Grenade launcher
       Heavy Bolter
       Krak grenades
    Chimera
       2x heavy bolters, heavy stubber
       Smoke launchers, rough terrain mod.

(213 pts.)

FAST ATTACK

- Sentinel with lascannon
(55 pts.)

- Sentinel with lascannon*
(55 pts.)

HEAVY SUPPORT

- Basilisk with indirect fire
(125 pts.)

- Demolisher
With hull lascannon + sponson plasma cannons
Smoke launchers, rough terrain mod.
(193 pts.)

* was not present in the first two games

Let me begin my looking at the elements in my list.

HQ: My command squad is described most frequently in my battle reports as ď1 worthless command squadĒ. And that, is, really, all that it is. All of the games combined, I donít think Iíve even made up half of its points cost for a single game. Basically, the only use Iíve gotten out of them is sometimes (like once or twice) making a flag reroll, and sometimes, it has actually served as an excellent distraction (heck, itís my army HQ (I once had someone ask me if him killing my HQ squad did anything to my army ? ), and it has a giant, shiny, flag in front), but more often than not, it just gets gunned down. Honestly, if I didnít have to take this unit, I wouldnít.

Elites: My stormtroopers didnít show up in the beginning, and, to be honest, didnít do a whole lot when they did show up. It was certainly my fault, though, as I started out deepstriking them, and then I started infiltrating them. I never really had a chance to figure out how to use them, but itís obvious that I donít know how to use them. Usually, they just get shot up. I think the biggest problem with this unit is that it only has one objective: blowing up tanks. Given that itís a 5-man suicide squad, and that I havenít seen a lot of tanks, itís no surprise that these guys havenít gotten a lot done. What I need is a secondary objective, but I donít know what else these guys can do for me.

Troops:

Platoon HQ: The implementation of this unit changed a bit before it finally rested in its high-firepower, troop support role. This unit is designed to shoot down transports (which will inevitably come at my troops), and provide a decent amount of 24Ē firepower to help take down threats to the infantry, as well as provide leadership. Unfortunately, this hasnít done a lot. I have been able to use my leadership bubble, but Iíve noticed that my squads tend to just die when my enemy focuses on them (making morale less of an issue). As well, lacking enemy transports, the autocannon hasnít shot at a lot of armor (read: has never shot at one vehicle once), and the command squad has a tendency not to be able to use the grenade launcher either. Basically, it feels like these guys have a good job, and are equipped to do that job well, but theyíve never been needed. I kind of get the feeling that this unit has been only somewhat more useful than the army HQ, but is more expensive by quite a bit.

Platoon Squads: These squads are equipped so that they can present themselves as a target, soak up board space, and kill light infantry. Given that I havenít fought against a lot of light infantry, they have pretty much only been doing the first two. I donít want to get rid of them as an anti-light infantry segment of my army (as then Iím not left with much to cover that), but I canít help but see them as pieces that exist to serve my strategies, not to shoot at stuff. You will notice that these guys seem to take an undue amount of firepower for their worth, which is absolutely great. Von Clausewitz said that the key to defense is to use few units in a place that they can hold off many enemy units, freeing up other parts of your army to counterattack. If Von Clausewitz is right, then Iím being a good disciple. Basically, my clouds of brightly painted infantry hide in cover, and the enemy will have to spend twice the points of my squads to root them out of their position. A giant distraction? Sure, but it seems to be working pretty well so far. I donít know what else I would do with this unit other than sit and wait for an enemy to bring light infantry onto the field.

Armored Fist: Man, I love this unit! Having a 4 machine gun tank has proven itself over and over both by murdering the little light infantry Iíve come across, but as well attritioning space marines to death with harassing fire. Not once have I ever been disappointed by the 2x heavy bolter set up, and more than one opponent has groaned when I pop the top on the chimera, and say ďAnd now Iím going to shoot ANOTHER heavy bolterĒ. The chimera as well adds a nice bit of movement to my force, and has been used for a few sneaky maneuvers, as well as providing general bulk to the armored wall I can present should I so choose. Another good part is, assuming the chimera doesnít explode, I basically ensure over 200 victory points that my opponent canít get.

As for the troops inside, their reputation isnít as stellar. My purpose for these guys is the same as the normal squads, so, in the end, it has basically served as a mobile distraction. I have definitely used these guys as a means to draw the enemyís attention and, on the few times that the chimera has been blown up, I use my guys just like normal infantry squads (distractions in cover that are harder to wipe out). The only beef that I have with them right now is the krak grenades. In roughly 60 turns of playing, I only had ONE time when I could have used krak grenades, and I forgot to use them. The only nice thing is that it soaks up 20 more victory points in a hard to kill unit. In the end, Iím going to have to let them go, but it feels bad, as they were sort of specialists, kind of. In the end, other than dropping the krak grenades, these guys have been able to do okay with machine gunning from the chimera, and, though they donít have the best firepower ever, they have a tendency to not get horribly murdered just like the rest of my infantryÖ

Fast Attack: I also really love my lascannon sentinels. Iíve used them very foolishly a couple of games, but I just canít say enough about them. Basically, I use them very aggressively, trying to charge light infantry (which they did once! Huzzah!) as well as using the lascannons defensively to put wounds on tyrannid monstrous creatures and tanks (the few that have shown up). My crowning moment was when I charged an enemy tank in game 4 where he had to chose between blowing up something real, or shooting railguns at the pair of sentinels that could seriously threaten his tank. That, and these guys are great distractions, as well as being a portable ďhull downĒ for my tanks (the best part is when enemy anti-tank weapons have failed target priority tests and had to shoot at my 55 pt. AV10 sentinels rather than my big, shiny, expensive demolisher. For their points, and their usefulness (go scouts rule!), I really look forward to fielding more of these as I play higher points games.

Heavy Support:

Basilisk: To be honest, Iím not as impressed with this tank as I thought I would be when I first started. Thatís not to say itís bad, and itís definitely gotten itís MVP status a few times. I think itís because I donít enjoy smearing stuff as much as I thought, as space marine players tend to cry when I shoot this weapon at them, which is less fun for me. It has proven itself brutally effective almost every time Iíve needed it to be, and for itís points, I canít go wrong. The only thing that I think I need to do is deploy more stuff around it (as Iíve started doing) as there have been a few irritating times when my basilisk spends the first two turns shooting and the next two running before getting blown up.

Demolisher: Oh, truly you are the king of tanks! It has only been destroyed twice (once by a 20-teleporting-necron-warrior-rapid-firing-ass-handine, and the other time by a lucky glance by a railgun through smoke. Every time that it doesnít die, I secure nearly 200 pts. for myself. What a deal! That, and, though it hasnít been the super king of firepower all the time, it has dealt itís fair share of damage to space marines, all without dying. Recipient of the MVP more times than any other unit, I canít think of anything Iíd change about this unit. Iíve definitely been disappointed with the demolisher cannon a few times, though, and so I wonder if I should be las/plasing more.

Anyways, thatís a quick runthrough of my list, and what itís generally done. The following are a few changes that Iíd like to make, and would really appreciate your advice on.

Stuff to drop: Krak grenades, rough terrain modification on chimera and demolisher (I think I used one of those on one of the tanks once. Otherwise, the few times Iíve driven through cover, Iíve gone slower than 6Ē).

Possible stuff to drop: The standard in the army HQ (which has been cool the like twice that Iíve gotten to use it to effect, but I could really stand to lose this, as you can see in my reports), the grenade launcher in platoon HQ, the autocannon in platoon HQ.

If I dropped all of these things, Iíd have 64 pts. to play with.

I have a clear idea of what the rest of my army does, but some of it needs redefinement.

Stormtroopers: What should their secondary mission be? Iím thinking of taking pts. and giving it to them to add a few more bodies, but that wouldnít help them take down marines much, or help them take down big baddies really at all. Maybe I shouldnít give them a second mission and just use them basically as an infiltrating distraction if there is nothing worthwhile to shoot at.

Platoon HQ: While I think theyíre job is a good one, they havenít gotten to do their job really at all. In the end, they just sort of get shot up like everyone else. Should I just stick to my guns to cover an Achillesí heel? Should I give them a new role? Iím not totally dissatisfied with this unit, but Iíd like to think that it could do more.

Army HQ: These guys are in need of some serious revamping. Either I need to accept them as literally nothing more than a distraction, or I should figure out what the heck to do with them. Any ideas? Any at all?

Plans for the future: So, these are some of the things that I could do with my army. Assume that I get rid of everything that I could drop and then ďbuy them backĒ.

Option #1: Do only a little tweaking with the points that I can already really stand to lose.

Flag
GL + autocannon in platoon HQ
Autocannon + storm bolter in army HQ
+1 stormtrooper with hellgun

Option #2: Weaken my Platoon HQ so that it is more expendable, and strengthen the rest of my army more.

Flag
Autocannon in platoon HQ
Autocannon in army HQ
+2 stormtroopers with hellguns

Option #3: Drastically weaken my Platoon HQ so that it provides only light support to infantry, go nuts!

HI + FW psyker in army HQ
Transfer power weapon from platoon HQ to army HQ

Option #4: Drastically weaken Platoon HQ, but donít go quite as crazy.

GL in platoon HQ
Priest with carapace + power weapon in army HQ
+1 power weapon in army HQ

Option #5: Bulk up HQís

Flag
GL + GL + autocannon in platoon HQ
GL + GL + storm bolter in army HQ

Anyways, those are just some of the things Iíve thought of off the top of my head, but Iím really interested in hearing other peopleís suggestions!

THE OVERVIEW

So, Iíd like to impart a few of the lessons that Iíve learned in my first ten game (to help noobs, and to compare it to vetsí advice)

- Leadership isnít that important. Sure, sometimes my guys run, but more often, they donít. Never have I had guys run away and thought to myself ďOh crap! It was really important that those guys didnít run away there!Ē Honestly, if I can get a space marine squad to waste 3 turns shooting at an infantry squad of mine, theyíve already made back their points in time alone. Remember as well that youíre not talking about really expensive, or one of a kind units here, so I donít worry when the morale dice drop. In my experiences so far, I donít think Iíll ever take a vox net, and Iím even in doubt of iron discipline (assuming that I ever decide to take doctrines)

- Ordnance is great and not so hot. I have been a little disappointed time and again with how ordnance has been treating me. I didnít know that ordnance had the same crummy chance to hit as normal gunfire. As well, I tend to rely on my tanks a lot more in a pinch, so when they fail to hit or wound, itís usually much worse for my overall condition on the field. That being said, ordnance is strategically the best thing since sliced bread. My basilisk kills space marines. It kills them over, and over again, with no recourse for my enemy. Ditto for my demolisher. I have DEFINITELY won games just because I had the pie plates and a decent carrier for them.

- Use distractions. My opponents have a really bad habit of shooting at whatever I charge them with. This means that they will shoot the 55 pt. sentinel rather than the 125 pt. basilisk of doom. It means that they will assault a 52 pt. command squad rather than the 78 pt. machine gun next to them. It means that they will stand still for a turn to shoot heavy weapons rather than spreading out to avoid ordnance. I canít stress how much initiative that Iíve taken simply by using units expendably. This is usually kind of easy in that every unit in my army has a role, and when their role canít be filled, I use them as a distraction (as at least itís a role). The best examples are in game 4, when I got my enemy to shoot railguns at sentinels, game 5 when I drew two tyrannid monstrous creatures to the other side of the board so that they could get a piece of a basilisk that had no useful role, and in game 2 when a shotgun-toting sergeant dropped with his squad out of the chimera so that they could get assaulted by marines so that they would consolidate into a little ball to get ordnanced.

- Infantry die. Very rarely have I lived though a game when all of my infantry werenít massacared. The only big exception to this is the guys in the chimera when my enemy canít manage to blow up the chimera. Otherwise, they all die, all the time. What can I do to avoid this, or should I just accept this fate and act accordingly?

- Tanks do not. Rarely do my tanks go down, and when they do, it tends to be after theyíve made their points back. All of my enemies seem to be woefully underprepared for my vehicles. Maybe Iím just taking a lot for 1,000 pts. but still, the tanks get the job done.

- Play aggressive. By this, I donít mean to bum rush the enemy, but rather to constantly seek to take the initiative away from him. Place a unit out as a distraction, and then run him away from advancing units, and you can make half of his army worthless for half the game. Defend strong points with weak units and then use your strong units to take targets that, when destroyed, will make it difficult for your opponent to win. Run units forward to ďforceĒ the enemy to destroy targets that you want him to destroy. All of these are examples of controlling your enemy. When you constantly play to take away your enemyís initiative, you can make parts of his army useless without even shooting at them. In order to do this, you need to take control and be aggressive, even when itís aggressive in a backwards direction from your enemy.

Anyways, thatís it for the reflections on my first ten games. I hope that you have enjoyed reading the reports (and trust me, there will be more), and I look forward to comments that you may have on either the games themselves, or what I should do with my list, or things that you have found to be true on an abstract level when commencing field strategy. Thanks for reading!