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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Battle Report: Astra Militarum and Grey Knights vs. Salamanders

Round three! Yet again I was using my 1000 pts list, and this time I was teamed up with Grey Knights and pitted against Salamanders.

Army List

My 1000 pts Astra Militarum list for this event:

Combined Arms Detachment: Astra Militarum
Plasma Command Squad in Chimera
Plasma Veteran Squad in Chimera
Melta Veteran Squad in Chimera
Melta Veteran Squad in Taurox
Fast Attack
Heavy Support
Void Shield Generator

Round Three: Salamanders

My new ally's list was fairly potent for a 1000 pts army, and included two shunting Dreadknights plus Terminators and Interceptors.

Our opponent's list included Tacticals, Sniper Scouts, Devastators, a Thunderfire Cannon, a couple of Dreadnoughts (one the Salamanders special character Dread in a Pod), and Vulkan with Assault Terminators in a Stormraven. So a couple of Pods with melta and flamers to watch out for, a decent firebase, and a big expensive choppy deathstar.

I was playing on the same table as the previous round, so I repeated my previously successful deployment pattern: drop my Void Shield Generator between two LOS-blocking hills and cluster up my vehicles! The Interceptors combat-squadded and deployed in screening positions to prevent enemy Pods from landing inside our shield bubble, and the two Dreadknights deployed on our right flank.

 Our opponent mirrored our deployment with his own firebase.

The Salamanders took the first turn and dropped a melta Pod in front of our firebase, but outside our shield bubble. All their shooting dropped our shields but did negligible damage to our forces, only taking a couple of HP from my vehicles.

The Dreadknights shunted across the table to pressure the Salamanders.

One of the Interceptor combat squads joined them, whilst the other moved to deal with the melta squad that had Podded in. I repositioned some vehicles for better shooting.

The teleporting GKs easily incinerated the Sniper Scouts, and the rest of our firepower spread some damage around the Razorback, Dreadnought and Thunderfire.

The melta squad (and their Pod) were cleaned up without difficulty.

Our opponent's deathstar did not arrive from Reserve, and I found myself thinking back to the similar circumstances in my first game of the tournament. The Salamanders special character Dready did arrive, and Podded in on my right flank. Unfortunately for my opponent, both my vehicles on that flank were still partially within the VSG bubble, so Mr Dreadpants was unable to shoot effectively and so instead ran behind my Chimera and out of LOS of most of my shooting.

I got the feeling that our opponent was a feeling a lot more threatened by the Grey Knights than the Guardsmen at this point, and he brought down one Dreadknight with concentrated firepower.

The proximity of Mr Dreadpants to all my squishy armour was a priority threat, so I disembarked a melta squad and successfully ordered them to Bring it Down. My opponent scooped his very pretty and expensive Forge World model back into its case.

I started pushing up into midfield and positioned for a big round of shooting. The other Interceptor combat squad shunted aggressively into the enemy deployment zone.

My ally had more luck with his deathstar Reserve roll than our opponent, and a blob of silver teleported in to complete the encirclement of our green foes. By the time we finished rolling dice this turn, all that was left of the Salamanders was a forcibly dismounted Tactical squad.

Another failed Reserve roll would have been as good as game over, but our opponent's Stormraven decided to make its grand entrance, sadly a turn too late.

The flyer and last few troops on the ground blazed away at the remaining Dreadknight, but thanks to a successful casting of Sanctuary it survived with a single wound remaining!

I spread my forces around the table so the deathstar that would soon disembark could only annihilate a portion of my army. We blazed away but failed to down the Jinking flyer.

The game accelerated towards its inevitable conclusion: Vulkan and his lads disembarked and started shredding armour and Guardsman alike; the Stormraven finally shot dead the Dreadknight then was in turn shot down; and one-by-one the Terminators dropped to the buckets of shooting dice I threw at them.

At the bottom of turn five, we had spread out to hold all the Objectives, and only Vulkan himself was left staring down a dozen or so lasguns—and one last meltagun—clutched by my decimated Guardsmen. Depending on your perspective, it was either depressing or fitting that the Mighty Master of Flame was finally dropped by a point-blank melta shot to the face!


With three convincing wins for the day I secured second place, just 1 VP behind my Eldar ally from round two. But more importantly, I had three really enjoyable games with good team-mates against good opponents.

The two most significant lessons to come from this tournament were:

  • Most players' 1000 pts lists were significantly harder than their 2000 pts lists
  • Putting a really big chunk of your points into Reserve, and not investing in Reserve manipulation, is a recipe for defeat
I know I was guilty of the first mistake alongside everyone else; my 2000 pts list was essentially just all the goodstuff from my 1000 pts list with a whole lot of filler to make up the second half. I was lucky that I didn't need to use my 2000 pts list all day, but those players who did found themselves losing more often than not. After-action discussion leads me to conclude that most players just added 'toys' to their good 1000 pts lists to hit the 2000 pts limit, rather than redesigning their lists at the different size.

The second mistake made my first and third games significantly easier than my second; applying 2000 pts against 1200-1500 pts for the first two or three turns of a game tends to deliver comfortable delivery. Having a couple of low-cost, high-impact Reserve options is great (for example, multiple meltas on an expendable squad in a Pod) but leaving a big expensive deathstar off-table for potentially half the game is just asking for trouble. If you have a +1 or reroll to Reserves then it may be a worthwhile gamble, but relying on a straight 3+ to win your games is not a good strategy!

The next event I am playing in has a stricter painting requirement than this one did, so I'd better dust off those brushes...


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