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Project: Desert Astra Militarum #1

It's been a case of all-hobby, no-bloggy for the last few months. The new edition of 40k has reinvigorated my motivation to build a...

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Battle Report: Astra Militarum vs. Blood Angels

Alright, time for round two! After my Astra Militarum performed well against Ravenwing but lost the mathematically-unwinnable mission, I was matched against another aggressive marine list, this time of the Blood Angel variety.

Round Two: Contact Lost vs. Blood Angels

My opponent was playing a Combined Arms Detachment of a Librarian, a big Honour Guard and a couple of minimised Tactical Squads in Rhinos, plus some Formation including Captain Karlen, Assault Terminators, Death Company, a Death Company Dreadnought and a Stormraven. Lots of fast, pain-not-feeling marines keen to cross the table and munch on squishy Guardsmen! But I was quietly confident since I've outplayed deathstar lists just like this one so many times before.

Objectives were scattered evenly across the table, and I had first deployment and turn. I stacked my forces in one corner and my opponent obliged by stacking most of his opposite mine. One Tactical squad in Rhino deployed centrally to threaten the Objectives on the other side of the field. Karlen, the Terminators and Dreadnought were all mounted in the Stormraven in Reserve.

My first turn Tactical Objective was to kill an enemy unit with shooting. I drove my Hellhound out onto my left flank to face-off against the isolated Tactical squad. Everything else jostled for firing position then let rip against the Blood Angels. Exterminators popped both Rhinos (that's what they're best for!) earning me First Blood. Not much else was in range but I sniped dead a couple of Tactical marines and a Death Company marine.

My opponent's first Tactical Objective was to take an Objective on the mostly neglected flank on my side of the field. With only a now-dismounted Tactical squad anywhere near that Objective, my opponent was not off to a good start.

Unsurprisingly, the Death Company and Librarian plus Honour Guard jumped and ran directly towards my massed armour. The Tacticals on that flank held back to camp a backfield Objective, and the other Tacticals started their long walk towards the midfield Objectives on the other flank.

I rolled the Cadian Tactical Objective to make a successful charge (lol) plus an Objective near my Hellhound, which promptly drove into position to score me some more VP.

My Tauroxes drove into the large ruin and a couple of Veteran squads dismounted into cover. The Ignores Cover Order was issued, then the Guard started shooting. When the dust settled, meltaguns had torn through the Death Company (sorry, yes you do feel the pain), the front row of Storm Shield-wielding Honour Guard had dropped to massed autocannon, punisher cannon and heavy bolter dakka, and a few more in the second rank had been gibbed by plasma. The remaining few Honour Guard and Librarian faced down my last Exterminator yet to fire, then I surprised my opponent by switching targets to his backfield Tacticals. The combat squad dropped to weight of fire, but my opponent was smiling anyway because a handful of his close combat monsters had survived my shooting and were in easy charge range...

...but then he realised that by losing those Tacticals, he now generated no Tactical Objectives on his second turn, and he was officially VP-screwed. His fully-loaded Stormraven arrived from Reserve and flew into the gap where the Death Company had fallen. The remaining Tactical squad kept running towards the Objective held by the Hellhound.

The Stormraven split its fire and inflicted Crew Shaken on a couple of Russes. The Honour Guard and Librarian multi-charged the Veterans, and my overwatch fire failed to drop any of the 3+/3++/FNP marines. As expected, my poor Guardsmen were mercilessly shredded, and the few survivors were run down.

Of course, that meant those murderous marines were left stranded outside of combat, in front of a lot of other angry Guardsmen! My Command squad and last Veteran squad dismounted and my armour spread out to encircle the Stormraven. The Ignores Cover Order was again issued, then my infantry finished off the Librarian and his Honour Guard.

All my vehicles snap fired at the Stormraven. Assuming that the AV12 flyer was safe from all my non-Skyfire, max S7 shooting, my opponent chose not to Jink and paid the price—two HP were lost to my weight of fire, and one hit also inflicted a Crew Stunned result. The velocity-locked flyer promptly zoomed right off the table, and only the Tacticals hiding in ruins in the far corner of the table saved my opponent from an auto-loss.

At the bottom of turn four, with my forces in a dominant position and way ahead on VP, the damaged Stormraven returned to the field and inflicted more HP damage—but no kills—on my Russes. In return, my armour fired back and despite this time Jinking, the Stormraven lost its last HP and crashed-and-burned.

Karlen, a Terminator and the Dread survived the crash, but the remaining Astra fire reduced them to a wounded Karlen only. We called the game at that point—a resounding victory to the Imperial Guard!

This game was like so many others I've won comfortably when a significant proportion of my opponent's points spent half the game in Reserve. In an age when 40k plays so slowly, and organised games rarely last more than five turns in their allotted time, it is simply not correct to put more than 25-30% of your list in Reserve unless you have serious Reserve manipulation to almost guarantee their arrival on turn two. And this is why the Air Superiority Detachment is so powerful—if you can -2 your opponents' Reserve rolls then you will win some games based purely on this Detachment rule.

With one win and one loss on my record, I looked ahead to the last round and wondered if I would face something not Power Armoured...


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