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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Battle Report: Astra Militarum vs. Khorne Daemonkin


I took the list I posted earlier this week to a 1500 pts tournament on the weekend. Here is the first of my three battle reports.

Mission

The first round was Cleanse and Control with Hammer and Anvil deployment. In this tournament, holding Objectives at the end of the game was also worth 3VP per Objective, just like in Eternal War missions.

Army Lists

Here is a summarised version of my Astra Militarum and Imperial Knights army list:
Company Command Squad, Regimental Standard, 3x Plasma, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3x Plasma, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3x Melta, Chimera
Veteran Squad, 3x Melta, Taurox
Devil Dog, Multi-Melta
Vendetta
Exterminator, Lascannon
Knight Warden

Here is what I remember of my opponent's Khorne Daemonkin army list:
Jugger Lord with Axe of Bloodthirster Spawning Bullshit
D-Thirster
Bloodcrushers
Bloodletters
Bloodletters
Cultists
Hounds
Hounds
Maulerfiend
Maulerfiend
Soul Grinder

Minimal shooting, lots of fast assault units, and the deployment map that prevents lateral movement—I do like a challenge...

Deployment

I gave my opponent first turn, wanting to have the last move onto Objectives. He lined up along the leading edge of his deployment zone...


...and I took advantage of the depth of my deployment zone.


I reminded my opponent that his Hounds could Scout. Saying nothing would have been advantageous, but I like to play nice. After all, you don't want to get bad gaming karma. But as it turned out, my opponent did not take a similar view to the game...

Turn One

The first turn saw the demonic horde surge forward...


...and the Imperials reposition to halt their advance.


I pushed the Knight forward aggressively to delay the enemy advance, and concentrate my opponent's attention and forces on the open killing ground in front of my army. I chose to ignore the D-Thirster that had flown into my deployment zone, since the last thing I wanted was to ground it and thus allow it assault a turn earlier. The Objective Secured Taurox that drove up to the flying D-Thirster claimed the Objective at the monster's feet.

My shooting was disappointing, killing half the Hounds from each unit but not finishing either unit. I possibly would have destroyed one squad if I could have shot it with the Devil Dog's S8 Blast; I had moved it 'just' into range of the Hound squad, but in my shooting phase my opponent chose to argue over a fraction of an inch of range... oh yay, one of those guys.

The Knight Warden charged the Hound squad accompanying the Jugger Lord, further reducing their numbers. He double-Stomped but only took a HP off a nearby Maulerfiend. I scored 1VP for holding an Objective.

Turn Two

The D-Thirster landed in my backfield; the rest of the Daemonkin continued to close in on my army, and the two Maulerfiends charged my Knight Warden. Unsurprisingly, the Dinobots had little trouble shredding the Titan, which unfortunately did not do any significant damage when it went nuclear. First Blood to my opponent. My opponent tried to get extra movement by consolidating the units that had been in combat with the Knight, and even though I showed him the rules which disallow such a move, it still required a ruling from the Tournament Organiser to get the game moving again. More time wasted, more bad gaming karma building...

My Vendetta arrived and I positioned it to block the direct line of charge between the Maulerfiends and my armour. Yes, that flying stand is a Vendetta—I borrowed the model and to my surprise, it did not have a slot into which the flying stand could be inserted... I never knew a flyer model could be as anatomically incorrect as a Barbie Doll!


All three of my Veteran Squads dismounted to fire for effect. The two squads near the Commander took First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire Orders and blazed away at the Hounds and Blood Crushers with laser, plasma and melta fire. When the dust settled, my left flank was blessedly clear of threats. FOR TEH EMPRAH!


On my right flank, the Devil Dog, Exterminator, Vendetta and Veterans shot the other Hound unit and killed the last of the beasts, and reduced the Jugger Lord to just two wounds.

It's worth noting the positioning of my Devil Dog and the empty Chimera in the centre of my line—blocking the landed D-Thirster from charging any of my left flank units.

It's also worth noting how densely my infantry are positioned—this is obviously not a good idea if you are facing blast weapons! However, I had asked my opponent about his shooting capabilities, and he assured me that he had no such weapons, so I placed my infantry roughly in the interest of saving time.

I scored another 1 VP from Objectives this turn.

Turn Three

Of course, my opponent was lying about his shooting capabilities, and was very quick to use his accrued Blood Tithe to summon a Skull Cannon, which it turns out has an Ignores Cover large blast shooting attack. Oh yay.


The D-Thirster and a Dinobot moved up to destroy the blocking Devil Dog and Chimera. The other Dinobot tried to move through the blocking Vendetta to get at my Guardsmen. Again, it took Tournament Organiser intervention to enforce the 1" separation rule on my opponent and get the game moving again. This was getting old.


Next it was time for the newly summoned Skull Cannon to obliterate some clumped-up Guardsmen; however, it turned out that both of my dismounted squads were about 1 degree out of the Skull Cannon's firing arc. No, sorry, I couldn't possibly be lenient about that...

The D-Thirster charged and destroyed the empty Chimera. A Dinobot charged and destroyed the Devil Dog. The other Dinobot charged a Veteran squad, but my opponent forgot to resolve that combat and I felt no obligation to remind him.

Meanwhile on my right flank, the wounded lone Jugger Lord charged my Veteran Squad. Hot rolls on Overwatch saw a lasgun drop the fiend to his last wound. Unsurprisingly, the Big Evil ripped through half my squad, but then more hot rolls saw a lowly Guardsman's rifle butt of doom slay the enemy Warlord...

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Of course, the Axe of Thirster Spawning popped out an even bigger evil to replace the one I'd just slain. My opponent insisted it appeared locked in combat with the Guardsmen that had slain the Lord, but a third Tournament Organiser intervention was required to place the Thirster—flying—out of combat.


My third turn saw me drawing cards for the two midfield Objectives, plus the card for controlling any three Objectives. With both remaining game time and my army swiftly dwindling, I chose to Hover my Vendetta and move it onto the farthest midfield Objective, and the Objective Secured Taurox bravely drove right up to a Dinobot to claim the closer one.

The Command Squad and unengaged Veteran Squad on my left flank repositioned to shoot the D-Thirster that was nicely exposed on the ground after it showed my 70 pts empty Chimera who was boss. Six Plasma Guns with the Bring It Down Order (Monster Hunter) sent the fiend howling back into the Warp.

My turn ended with my opponent again having forgotten to resolve the Dinobot vs. Veterans combat.

With Slay the Warlord and my Tactical Objectives scored thus far, I was up to 7VP, while my opponent was sitting on 8VP.

Time is Called... and the Drama Continues

My opponent started his fourth turn by summoning another Skull Cannon, this one positioned much more carefully. He had made a couple of other moves when the Tournament Organiser came over and called time on our game. Seeing that we had only just started the fourth game turn, he directed us to add up our VP based on the end of the third game turn.

At first glance, it looked like I had lost 8-7, a result that would be recorded as a draw under the scoring system of this tournament. My opponent was dissatisfied with this result, and tried to claim Linebreaker with his Maulerfiend; however, a small fraction of its base was outside my deployment zone, denying him that last VP. Damn, those fractional inches are a bitch.

It was at this point that my opponent realised that he had forgotten to resolve two turns of close combat between that Maulerfiend and my Veterans. He sought permission from the Tournament Organiser to go back in time and resolve the combat; this was allowed, and unsurprisingly the Dinobot ate my Guardsmen and consolidated fully into my deployment zone, for Linebreaker and the win...

...but gaming karma cannot be denied. I had remembered by this point that the tournament missions awarded 3VP for each Objective held at the end of the game. My Objective rush at the end of my last turn netted me an extra 9VP, whilst my opponent was only in range of two Objectives for a bonus 6VP. The tables had turned, and I won 16-15...

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Gaming karma claims another victim.

Conclusion

When all was said and done, I finished the first round with a draw (5 battle points).

There is no denying that my army got badly mauled in this game. If the game had run its full course I could have come close to being tabled—I would have zoomed my Vendetta around in relative safety to stay alive. But this game did highlight that old adage of 'losing a battle to win the war'; my army was badly beaten up, but by playing to the mission and prioritising Objectives over kills I won on VP.

The Knight Warden was a big disappointment; I could have played it more conservatively, as a counter-assault threat, but it did buy me time by delaying the Jugger Lord and Dinobots in midfield. The rest of the Daemonkin army was fairly easily dismantled by Imperial firepower. A Fearless Conscript blob or Platoon could have equally acted as a speedbump for far fewer points, leaving me with points for extra firepower.

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