Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Starsmash - Part One - The Toughest Tournament in My 2011 Calender


Two months ago I went to the tournament I had been building up to all year.  For me this is the toughest tournament of my tournament calender, and would be a real test of my improvement over the last two years.  I have been going to more tournaments and trying to get more games inbetween tournaments to up my game.

Starsmash is also my local tournament, run by local club (Spiky club).  It's 1500 points (I would prefer 1750 points, but variation is always good and shakes things up), 5 games and no comp.  What I think makes the tournament so competitive is a number of factors, the two main ones being that it very well run (helped by the fact that it's in it's 10th year at least), it's easy to get to with good rail and motorway links, and it's counts for full points on the Rankings HQ website.

Last year taking my Tau I finished very low, so I wanted to finish at least top half, with an top ten finish being ideal (out of 40ish players).

Rather than full battle reports, over the next few weeks I will show my main learnings from each game, from deployment & terrain rules to the dangers of clumping, and how the good or bad decisions in these areas affected the game.  First up will be deployment from Game 1.


PS. The list I used at Starsmash was:

Haemonculus Nalix Soulseer - 55
with Venom Blade

6 Incubi - 132
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

10 Wracks with 2 Liquifier Guns - 120
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

9 Wyches incl. Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 105
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

8 Wyches incl. Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 95
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

3 Wracks - 30
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances & Shock Prow - 115

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances & Shock Prow - 115

Razorwing Jetfighter - 145
with 2 Dark Lances, twin-linked Spinter Rifle & 4 Monoscythe missiles

Total: 1499 Pts

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Battle for Planet OG II - Belated Game 3 Battle Report

Well this battle report is well overdue, as I returned yesterday from Battle for Planet OG IV.

Overviews of battles one and two can be found in the comments section of this post. The scenario was:

" The battle for the cells has had consequences beyond any ones perception. The battle that ensued after the initial raid is suddenly interrupted by eruption and devastation. Huge tremors result in magma filled geysers erupting from craters around the battlefield, shooting many feet into the air and inflicting terrible damage to all it contacts. Time to win the conflict fast before Mother Terra takes you both out "

Primary Mission: Kill them all

Table Quarters Deployment

Place an objective in the middle of the board.
At the beginning of every players turn, roll 8d6 and scatter a large blast   :)) template from the center of the board (this always scatters). If it hits the edge of the board bounce it back again using the remaining movement.

 - Any unit hit by this template will suffer 2D6 S8 AP 1 hits
 - Any vehicle hit will suffer an auto S10 AP 1 hit

Cover saves may be taken by infantry if applicable (as they try to dive for safety), however any model caught directly may not (and must always have the most amount of wounds allocated to it)

As time is not on your side, prioritising your targets is key, this is a kill points mission with the following changes.

 - HQ units are worth 3 KP each.
 - Elites / Heavy Support are worth 2 KP each
 - Everything else is worth 1 KP each

Secondary Mission:

The eruptions have thrown up a (previously) deeply rooted Cell of enormous stature and power.
The winner of the mission is the one who has the most troops choices within a 6 inches of the center of the objective.

The Game 

My opponent had taken 2 max sized platoons with 7 heavy weapons accross the 10 infantry squads.  A Command HQ had a medic to give them feel no pain, and a master of the ordance.  The basic infantry was rounded out by a heavy weapon squad of 2 lascannon teams and 1 missile launcher team.  Within the infantry was a 2 commassairs ready to make up to 50 guys stubbon, and an hq slot psyker was also included.   The odd meltagun and many grenade launchers were scattered through the infantry as well.

Finally Orgyns and Rough riders were included to give his horde a nice counter attack responce, while a squad of ratling snipers was included to round out the force.

After complaining in many recent games that my anti tank kept failing me, this opponent had completely nerfed my anti tank by taking not a single vehcile.  They couldn't even instant kill orgyns because they were toughness 5.  However they would be useful for instant killing the heavy weapon teams and ignoring the feel no pain on the command squad.

This mission was a modified kill point mission, ie. hq was worth 3 kill points, heavy and elite slots were worth 2 kill points, everything else was 1 kill point.  My kill point total increased from it's normal total of 18 to 26.  While the guard had the option to combine his squads vastly reducing his kill point total.  The basic guard modified kill points was 23, however of the 10 guard squads they were split into a mob of 50 guys with 2 heavy weapons, a mob of 30 guys with 3 heavy weapons & a mob of 20 guys with 2 heavy weapons.  This reduced his kill points by 7.

The deloyment was Spearhead, and as a bit of random fun, each turn a larget template would scatter 8D6 from the centre of the board, anything infantry touched by the template would suffer 2D6 Str 8 Ap2 hits.  Vehicles (even glanced by the template would suffer an automatic str10 ap1 hit.  To make up for this the secondary objective was to have the most troop choices within 6" of the middle of the board.

Every game you should come up with a game plan (but have the flexibility to change it on the fly).  Mine for this game was simple.  I couldn't win a straight up shooting match, having to kill 20 or 30 guys to get rid of 2 or 3 heavy weapons when they are in cover simply wouldn't happen.  This game would be won or lost in the assault phase.  My assault elements would move as fast as possible towards combat, while everything else advances to the middle of the board (to be safe from the scattering template, average scatter = 28").

I won the roll off and decided to go first, which had the added bonus that I could put the Guard in the top right hand quarter that had the least terrain.  There was a small ruined walls terrain piece in the middle of the board.  In the guard quarter there was a forest about 10" from the centre of the board, and a 3 story ruin in the top right had corner of the board.  There was a multi story ruin in each other corner of the board, a few forests scatter round the small middle ruin.

With the scattering template I decided to set up in a loose quarter circle 12" from the middle of the board.  My opponent put a blob of 20 guys with 2 heavy weapons and the psyker in the ruin in the top right hand corner of the board, along with the command hq on the first floor, and the heavy weapon team split between the 2nd and 3rd floors.  The orgryns were hiding in the ruin behind the 20 infantry.  A blob of 30 guys (with 3 heavy weapons and a commassair to make them stubbon) were deployed stretching from just behind the forest in his quarter all the way back to the right hand table edge.

The two platoon commands were left in reserve (my opponent probably worried about easy kill points).  Joining them in reserve was a blob of 50 guys (with 2 heavy weapons and a commassair to make them stubbon), and the rough riders.

Remember all the blob squads had multiple sergaents with power weapons and the psyker had  power weapons making them a daunting prospect in assault.  Lastly 5 scouts deployed in the ruin in the bottom right hand corner.

Luckily I did not have initiative stolen from me, and was able to start turn 1.  I was lucky with the scattering template an it scattered towards the guard lines.  It hit the blob of 20 guys and killed 5 of them, and killed one of the command squad.  After that the template did not hit anything else, it didn't scatter towards the guard quarter and I moved my army into the middle of the board knowing the average scatter would take it 28" away (so I won't mention it again).

All four raiders with assault troops moved nearly the maxiumum 24" forwards, all stopping just before the forest, the rest moved 12" into the middle of the board to avoid the scattering template and get in range of the guard.  I started by shooting the razorwing missiles at the heavy weapon squad (hoping to instant kill them).  As they were split between levels I could only get 2 models with a hit.  A combination of bad scattering and good cover saves meant that I only killed one base.  Splinter cannons did little to the command squad with their feel no pain, and most of the ravager lances were stopped by cover saves.

I think this was bad target priority by me.  Although it would have been nice to try and instant kill the heavy weapon teams the fact that they were on different levels meant that I had to get a hit or only move and inch to hit any of them.  A much better target would have been the unit of 20 infantry that had already lost 5 models.  They were quite packed and all on the ground floor.  The razorwing would probably have reduced them down to the size that just one of my close combat squads could have killed them.  Ideally I had to kill the guard squads quickly because their multiple power weapons would take a toll on my fragile squads.

Splinter cannons should also have gone into the 20 man squad to help reduce them to much more manageable levels.  Given that I was likely to be out of range with the ravager darklance to fire at the heavy weapon teams they should have gone into the command squad (to ignore feel no pain).

With no reserves, the guard stayed still in their turn.  They blew up the raider with the wyches and the haemonoculus.  Luckily no-one died due to having feel no pain, and they passed their pinning test.  The wrack raider was also blown up, and again no-one was hurt due to higher toughness and feel no pain.
This would leave me with 2 squads to assault the 30 man unit, and 2 mounted squads to assault the 20 mn squad further away, however the wracks failed their pinning test.  Because the wrack raider went full speed the trueborn venom's wouldn't have been in range even if they had grisly trophies, and I didn't roll the exact 9 (1 in 9 chance) that would have meant a squad leader would have made a difference.  I'm coming the conclusion that I'll just have to suck it up when I fail pinning tests, and rather than spend money to help I should just buy more models and guns.

With only 2 raiders downed I think I got off lightly.

Turn 2 I pushed both wyches into the 30 man squad, and the incubi went on their own into the 20 man squad (they were down to 15 men plus the psyker and I calculated the incubi should do about 9 kills). All the remaining vehicles (including the small unit of wracks and the 2 trueborn units) else stayed in the centre of the board (they at least moved slightly to ensure they would require 4+ to hit in combat).

The wyches fleeted to get right next to the 30 man guard blob.  I didn't want to fire at them in case it meant that a bad difficult terrain role from the wyches with the haemonoculus meant they did not make combat.  The incubi moved so that they would only reach the two guard models out of terrain (meaning they didn't need to risk a difficult terrain test).

Shooting saw me pick the right targets, with all the lances making sure the command squad (apart from the commander who was hidden out of line of sight) were dead.  The heavy weapon team was also finished off.

In combat the commassair and all three sergaents in the 30 man blob could move against the the wyches with feel no pain.  It was a bit tense, but they wyches eventually broke the blob after 4 turns of combat.  The incubi did not fair too well as there was still 3 power weapons in the squad of 20 (2 sergaents and the psyker).  I really should have allocated some razorwing love (ie. large template missiles) on turn 1 :)

While these combat were going on the guard 50 man blob unit came on from reserve, and one of the platoon hqs.  The platoon hq hid in the ruin in the top left hand corner, and the 50 man blob spread out along the middle 20 inches of his side of the table, spread evenly because the wracks had 2 liquifier guns.
I think this was a mistake by my opponent, he should have moved more agressively forwards.  What he did do was first fire grenade launchers at a vehicle, and then the following turn fire at another vehicle with the addition of 2 heavy weapons bringing down a raider.

Just before the wyches finished off the 30 man blob the rough riders came on from reserve amd charged a ravager that I had carelesly left on his half of the board.  A good fleet roll and they charged and wreaked it.  With nothing much else to fire on (the 50 man blob squd through cover or the orgyrns hidding in the top right hand corner ruin) all my lances and splinter cannons turned on them and killed them in a turn.

When the 30 man blob squad was finished the pain token was given to the wyches without feel no pain.  The squad that started with the haemonoculus moved towards the incubi combat and helped them finish off the last of the squad, however there was only 1 incubi and  few wyches left, who were seem off by orgyrn shooting nd combat the following turn.  The imperial commaneder risked coming out of cover to kill the incubi and then consolidated back behind line of sight blocking terrain.

The other wych squad got on my last remaining raider and moved towards the ratling snipers in the ruin in the bottom right hand quadrant.  In the last turn they hopped off and charged the ratlings, easily killing them all.

In the centre the orgryns (after killing the wyches) moved accross and assaulted the wracks.  The wracks lost combat but held for the game to end.  However with the small wrack unit on a borrowed venom sitting on the middle objective the orgryns would have needed another couple of turns to force me off the middle objective (particularly s in the mission rules it stated that only troops could contest objectives.

In the end I hadn't killed many kill points; 2 blob squads (50 men), the ratlings, the heavy weapon team, the primis psyker, and had lost a lot; haemy, incubi, wych squad , 3 raiders, venom & ravager, however I had managed to keep the secondary objective for a 10-5 loss.

With 2 big wins in my first 2 games I was able to win the tournament on the victory point tie break :)  Winning the secondary objective in my 3rd game was essential to winning the tournament.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Life stirs...

As the 2011 tournament season draws to a close for me I'm busy assembling necron barges. It was to go to a tournament this weekend, but because of other priorities I don't think I'm going to make it.

So what have I been up to since my last post. I've completed my battle report for the Battle for Planet OG tournament I went to. It's on my tablet waiting to be transfered to my PC and will be posted this weekend.

I've also attended 3 tournaments, Starsmash in Reading, M.A.D. at Triple Helix & Warfare in Reading. My posting schedule should return to normal now, so overviews of my performance and learning with my Dark Eldar will be forthcoming along with my initial games with my necron army (so far they have drawn against a Lysander led marine army).

Until next time...

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