BATTLE REPORTS - PUBLIC GAME - REFLECTIONS - 4

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 fourth 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.

THE STATS

My record after the first set was 8-1-1
My record after the second set was 4-3-3
My record after the third set was 8-2-1
My record after the fourth set was 5-3-3

In all of my public games, I have 25 wins, 9 draws, and 8 losses.

This set went worse than the last one for one primary reason:

- better opponents. Unlike the last set where I wailed on teenagers, my opponents in this set were much better. As well, this set did more to challenge my perceptions of the game than the last sets did. In the end, there were new types of challenges, and new thinking required to handle them.

THE LIST

This set was dominated by an escalation league, meaning that I played at several different points values with several different armies.

To note, after the first game of this set, I finally dropped the demolisher. For the next couple of games, I played with a hellhound in its place, and for a tournament (which isn't in my public game series) I tried out a pair of basilisks. Then, we moved into the 500 pts. level, where I simply took elements of my normal list and re-arranged them. In the end, I wound up picking up some mortars.

HQ

My command squad has kicked some serious backside this set. I mean, I kicked it last set as well, but this time, especially my priest, made the biggest difference in the games that I played. Sometimes, of course, it wound up just sort of sitting there, but the games that I did get it into combat, it was gold.

The thing that I've most matured on with my use of the command squad is how to safely deliver this fairly fragile unit to where it needs to be. Most importantly, my timing has gotten a lot better with my command squad never being accidentally charged like last set. While my play style with this unit has become more timid, there is nearly always an enemy that foolishly strays within 12" of this unit.

In one of my games, I tried bringing carapace armor for my officer. While it worked really well (really), it, in the end, only helps me against the types of units that that unit is less optimized to fight. That being said, usually there haven't been the perfect unit coming by, so I might put the armor back on in the future. The only real problem with this is, though it is inexpensive, I'm usually running on a VERY tight budget.

Otherwise, there isn't a thing I'd change about this unit. It has reached... nirvana...

ELITES

For the first time in over 20 games, my army saw an elites choice join in. As many of you know, I was more than a little skittish to include plasma weaponry when I first started playing. Any reservations that I had have obviously been reinforced, given that I've had 13 overheats in 9 games with 11 of my vets dying for just 2 successful armor saves. That being said, whatever I've assigned them to kill, they've killed, hands down. This guarantee is very comforting to me, especially since I expect them to be wiped every game. As well, it has helped to fill in an anti-marine hole that was somewhat lacking under my demolisher.

In the end, I'll probably keep this squad. Now that I've figured out how to use infiltrators better, I can reliably get the guns to their three whopping plasma guns to their targets. In the end, we'll just have to see how these guys continue to preform before I make all that many more judgments.

TROOPS

Platoon HQ: While this unit's lascannon was around, it simply didn't dish out the kind of damage that it did in the last set. Oddly enough, this unit seemed to do well when it had a mortar with it. Sure, I never fought against power armor with a mortar in that squad, but for the points, it's farily easy for a couple of kills to get this unit to get close to making it's points back, something that this unit has rarely, if ever, done.

I'm not sure where I'll go with this in the future. On the one hand, I'm thinking about keeping the mortar around. On the other, I'm starting to get the wicked teptation to throw a couple of grenade launchers in there and make them a pop-and-smack unit. I should probably resist this, though, as I'm sure it will be just shy of useless...

Infantry squads: This unit's primary function has not really changed. The big revelation is that these units keep their drawing power even when placed out of line of sight. This is something very important to consider.

When placed out of LOS, my infantry squads had a substantially higher survival rate. Cover saves are simply no substitute for not getting shot. That being said, having infantry squads with just a mortar made it difficult to get my points back. This was partly ameliorated, of course, by the fact that they never handed VP's over to my opponents.

Armored fist: For some odd reason, this unit didn't shine as bright as it usually does. That being said, this unit is still pulled it's weight. Still can't think of a thing that I'd do to change it, really.

FAST ATTACK

I love sentinels, yes I do. I love sentinels, how 'bout you?

These pair of crazy zap-smashers have continued to play a vital, if not entertaining, part of my army. I highly recommend lascannon sentinels to everyone.

Three cheers to the creators of more "air guitar" moments than all other units combined!

Hellhound: I flirted briefly with this tank. While I definitely admired it's ability to hit, even when it missed, in the end I felt it best to retire this vehicle. In the end, it simply filled a void that was already full, while not helping a lick against the things that I was still bad against (like space marines, for example). Maybe sometime in the future, I'll get around to this one again.

HEAVY SUPPORT

Basilisk: Though I didn't get to use this unit a lot during this set, during the times that I did, I was a little underwhelmed by it's performance. Indeed, the tournament that I got to use two of them wound up as a disaster. While the ability to shoot out of LOS is great, and the killing power of the gun superb, in the end, the accuracy of this weapon really only gives you one or two solid hits per game. There are definitely times when it can be a touch tricky for this vehicle to gain its points back, despite its relative inexpense.

In the end, I am starting to get a good feeling for why this tank is as cheap as it is. Doesn't mean that I'll be getting rid of it, though ;)

Demolisher: What can I say? This tank failed me for the last time, so it got the axe. I think that I might use this tank as a normal russ in the future.

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.

Things to drop: nothing. That's right, my list is in such an indefinite state at the moment that everything I already don't like is already gone. Instead, let me go into a bit more narrative as to what I'm thinking about doing.

This set caused me to be in a couple of situations where I realised that I was just going to get slaughtered if I just ran forward and went for the kill. A part of this might be attributed to the loss of the demolisher, but I think it has more to do with the vets (which must pop out at the last second to effectively deliver their plasma) and with my opponents being much better at playing the terrain.

This sort of sent my thinking into a tailspin. In the end, I learned this: guard are immobile compared to most armies, but they make up for this with the ability to use indirect fire weapons. This led to the unlikely use of mortars in my army. While this made me feel a little slimy, it definitely turned the tables around.

Then, of course, I found something more annoying than units that run and shoot and hide: units that can do this, but don't need to, and so just walk straight forwards at you.

As well, during this time, I formed a complimentary articles to my one on movement and deployment. You can read it here.

So, anyways, here is what I am thinking about so far.

Firstly, I want to re-instate the forward line of infantry. Sure they will get shot up more, but I think that it will be better for them to kill stuff, and keep people out of my firing lanes, and be dead at the end of the game, than to sit back and preserve VP's while relying on my short range units to do all of the work.

Seconly, I need more marine killing power back in my list. For this, I am considering a bolter baby russ. My only great concern is that once again, I am relying on a tank to survive against things of high mobility like broadsides with the "slow and purposeful thing". This is giving me the fear, big time, as eventually I'll be fighting against dark eldar.

Thirdly, I think I'm doing okay for now with short range pop-and-smack units. I think...

As well, I'd like to consider keeping a strong IF presence into the future.

That being said, let's assume that my basic list will look something like this:

SO with fist, priest with eviscerator, carapace
  - standard, 4 dudes with LP, CCW
Armored fist, 2x HB chimera, squad inside with missile launcher?
2x infantry squads with missile launchers
platoon HQ with mortar.
2 lascannon sentinels
Basilisk
5-man plasma vet squad

This leaves me with 156 points to play with. How do you think I should spend it?

Here are a couple of possibilities:

LRBT (w/3x HB, extra armor)

Basically, this one gets the most out of what I was looking for. That being said, it sort of depletes on resources from the rest of my army

LRBT (w/3x HB, or lascannon), a grenade launcher for my infantry squads

While this is nice, as it rounds out my army better, it sort of leaves my platoon HQ eating dust, yet again, as it has to drop the mortar, and there aren't a lot of points to make it useful again.

LRBT (w/3x HB, or lascannon), heavy bolters for my infantry, lascannon for my platoon HQ

While this would be nice, in part because I already have this modeled, but also because my platoon HQ would have a purpose again. That being said, I am somewhat charmed by the idea of keeping crisis suits out of my airspace...

2 more infantry squads with missile launchers

Something makes me doubt that two missile launchers are going to be as good as a leman russ. However, I have this nagging feeling that two squads are more likely to survive. I suppose with this setup I'd just have to pray that I can train all of my missile launchers on the same unit of space marines for a couple of turns...

In any case, these are just a couple of suggestions. I'd really like to know what you think, no matter how far feched (unless the suggestion is to drop the fist on the officer, in which the answer will be 'no' ;) )

THE OVERVIEW

So, Iíd like to impart a few of the lessons that Iíve learned in my second set (to help noobs, and to compare it to vets' advice).

- As stated before, the only great way to nail enemy with move-shoot-move is with indirect fire. You sort of have to deal with the fact of limited mobility, but it has it's effectiveness. As well, it forces your opponent to come to you. You can definitely take advantage of this with scary close-combat squads, or powerful things in good firing lanes.

- Priests rule. Being able to hit, even when you miss, is a godsend to guard. I highly recommend any unit that has this ability.

- Never be afraid to charge forwards at the last second. This may well be good for plasma squads, priests, and the like, but it's always good for sentinels :)

- Mortars aren't as bad as I used to think. While they may not do a lot of killing, their ability to mess with an opponent's otherwise sneaky plans, while preserving VP's mostly makes up for their relative inability to earn new VP's. We'll see how these carry on into the future...

Anyways, thatís it for the reflections on my fourth set of 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 my reports. It's weird to think that before the next set is up, I will be celebrating the 1 year anniversary of my public games. Thank you again for all of the accolades, criticisms, etc. that you all have given me so far. I couldn't have done it without you guys.