Saturday, 14 November 2009

GiftsForGeeks Tournament Update and Battle Reports

The situation at the end of the third round of the Gifts for Geeks Tournament is as follows:

4th-Guard/Stormbringers-10 Tiles

And here's why...!

Round One Roundup: SEE HERE

Round Two Roundup

300 Thousand v Apocalyspe Tau:
(no piccies, unfortunately) Despite my Kochi and the Sons of Sparta Space Marines decimating the joint Tau lines and reducing the army to a few tanks and a Shas'El, our lack of dedicated antitank proved meddlesome as the Tau could contest themselves out of the battle.

Moments of note: 75 pts of roughriders catch and kill over 350pts of Tau Crisis Suits and Commanders. Mortars decimate the Tau lines, despite the 3+ cover save afforded by the bastions.

Full Metal Waargh v The Dirty Dozen: The combination of Mark's Basilisk and the Vendetta gunships just rolled over the boy heavy lines. Too much ordinance in too small a space. The Orks are forced to cling on to the objectives and get whittled down. Clean victory for the Guard.

Moments of Note: Basilisk "Nob Crusher" manages to decimate and rout a horde of Orks holding the left flank with a single AP3 S9 shot...

The Chaosmarine has Landed v Where Necron's Dare: Despite Hutch's high hopes for the Necron boys following Chaos' defeat at the hands of some guardsmen, the combined attacking list including Deamon, Deamon Princes, Nurgle Terminators and Noise Marines just blows enormous chunks in the Necron horde. The Chaos boys defend their objective well.

Blasted Havocs ... or should that be blasting Havocs?

Moments of Note: Reports from the front lines highlight just how effective the noise marines prove, although with the amount of FNP power weapons floating about, one pitys the robo-skelly.

Round Three Roundup

The Chaosmarine has landed versus The Dirty Dozen:
Despite taking horrendous losses from their own inaccurate Ordinance and rolling multiple 1's on dangerous terrain for their bikers - the Chaos boys manage to roll over the Space Marine/Guard force in a typical tour-de-force.

Mark cleverly convinces Jack that his Stormbringer Marines make the best bullet shield ... honest!

Watching the final two rounds, the Guardsmen evened the odds a little, but turn three-four had really stamped a 5 killpoint lead on the servants of the Emporer.

Ant's Spectacular Forgeworld Terminators - luuuvvelly (my precious, dribble, dribble)...

Moments of Note: Guardsmen take both Summoned Deamon and a Deamon Price with nothing but heavy bolters and flashlights. 'Willy the Coward' runs the length of the board to deny a pointless killpoint to the Chaos Boys, and Mark is stunned to discover that his Ratlings are both I4 (good times) and T2-S2 (bad times).

Part of the 'reserved' Chaos army, note the widespread use of Hordes, WFB and other models ... these guys mean business!

300 Thousand v Apocalypse Waarghhh:
A battle I wasn't liking the look of turn our way as Coop cancelled earlier in the day due to poorliness. Get well soon Coop, but an autowin for the 300 Thousand boys! I gain preferred enemy to compliment the FNP and fearless on my Primaris Psyker and the Rough Riders gain Furious Charge (Yes I did actually roll it and yes it was witnessed and I am very pleased.)

Apocalyse Tau v Where Necrons Dare: Hutch canned the battle late (which left the Tau boys high and dry and playing with their 'greater goods'), this also meant they weren't able to reconvene against the 300 for a rematch. Spence and Dustin rolled for bonuses accordingly.

Thanks to Coop's early warning, Paul and I were able to reconvene our partnership into a head to head 1500pt battle ... and I had a chance to try out some cunning plans...

Battle Report: Kochi (Not so) Mobile Infantry versus 'Sons of Sparta' Space Marines

Army List

Kochi VIII Mobile Infantry (otherwise known as 'bring your own pillbox')
NB: All Chimera's are Multilaser and Heavy Bolter variants, upgraded with heavy stubbers.
  • HQ Command: Vox-caster, regimental standard, Heavy Bolter in Chimera
  • Infantry HQ: 2 Grenade Launchers, Heavy Bolter in Chimera
  • Infantry Combined Platoon (30): 3 Autocannons, Commissar, Vox-caster
  • Infantry HQ: 2 Grenade Launchers, Heavy Bolter in Chimera
  • Infantry Combined Platoon (30): 3 Lascannons, Commissar, Vox-caster
  • A Spare Chimera
  • 5 Rough Riders with Lances, Frag and Krak Grenades, Laspistols and flak armour.
  • 5 Rough Riders with Lances, Frag and Krak Grenades, Laspistols and flak armour.
  • Banewolf (Heavy Stubber, extra armour, smoke, multimelta)
  • Basilisk: Heavy Flamer and Earth Shaker Cannon.
  • Leman Russ Battle Tank, 3 Heavy Bolters
Paul's Sons of Sparta Marines
  • Lysander
  • 10 Terminators
  • 10 man Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher and Plasma Gun)
  • 10 man Tactical Squad (Multimelta and Meltagun)
  • Dreadnought (Multimelta, Dreadnought CCW and Storm Bolter)
  • Space Marine Attack Bike, Multimelta and twin linked bolters
  • 10 man Assault Squad, Sergeant with power weapon and meltabombs
  • 5 man Assault Squad, Sergeant with power weapon and meltabombs
Battle Type: Annihilation
Deployment: Pitched Battle


I won the roll for a change and opted to go second. I decided I wanted to see how Paul deployed and act accordingly. My army above was opting for a new option for me, optimising volume of fire in preference to AP penetration. As such, I was facing a bit of a problem with 11 Terminators facing my lines only so many inches away.

The Space Marines deploy in the open ... now if only I can steal first turn and hit with that Basilisk?!?

Paul brazenly placed his Termies, attack bike and Dreadnought in the middle, making a move for my lines, meanwhile he divided his tactical squads into combat squads and placed the missile launcher at the top of a building to the right flank. He then placed his other units in the open across his lines. The assault squads were placed as far forward as possible on the extreme left and right flanks, ten on the left and five on the right.

For myself I quickly established that Paul didn't have the long range firepower to threaten my tanks. This meant I would have several turns of shooting to down the arrogant smurfs. The Basilisk I set up on the far left flank (opposite ten assault marines), but positioned two rough rider unit in front of it. The two uber-units of guardsmen spread across the middle, forming a nice tarpit, with the Leman Russ holding centre stage and flanked on either side by 4 Chugs. The command and two platoon squads held sway from the Chimeras. The banewolf was positioned out on the right flank to 'tempt' the Assault marines in.

'Charge of the light brigade!'

The Space Marines move forwards, with the Assault marines making serious tracks on the left and right flank. The terminators Attack Bike and Dreadnought stormed up the middle, but all the antitank shots (umm 3) missed in a spectacular display of 1's ... this was going to be interesting. The combat squads ran out of the open and went for cover. The terminators targetted the autocannon squad and killed 7 thanks to their reroll to hit (Lysander), but not enough to force a leadership test.

The Guard gunline opens fire as the Space Marines trudge towards them

Only the Rough Riders moved, making serious headway towards the 10 man assault squad. The Basilisk targetted the far right flank Assault Marines (in the open) but missed. The commander chose 'bring it down' for the Autocannons on Dreadnought and FRFSRF on the lascannon unit for the Terminators. The Autocannon managed to blow the Multimelta off the Dread. The Lasguns proved highly ineffective as Paul rolled lots of ones. Two command Chimeras opened up, laying down a total of 12 36" dice (3 multilaser, 6 heavy bolter and 3 heavy stubber) and despite this nothing rolled a one! The lascannon team changed that and killed a single Terminator.

The Leman Russ redressed the inaccurate fire of the Basilisk and killed 2 men, the follow on heavy bolter fire reduced the squad to a sergeant. The Rough Riders rolled well on their run and charge and smashed home. Despite fighting two battles alongside roughriders and watching them attack terminators (or try to, the termies died squirming in a wall) and massacring a whole Crisis Suit force 4 times their price, he was surprised.

Survivors after the first round of combat ... 6-5 to the Space Marines (well I should hope so!)

First he was surprised that rough riders have frag grenades. Then he was surprised that the unit had I5, S5 power weapons. Why was he surprised? The two guardsmen cavalry units smacked home and a total of 22 hits resulted (through evil dice gods - blah) in 5 dead space marines. The Roughriders had made back their cost in a single charge. In return the Emperors finest killed 6 horses (yah-boo), but the Rough Riders held firm... tying up the assault marines and buying my Basilisk another turn.

'You may fire when ready...'

The Space Marines came closer, with the assault squad sergeant on the right flank leaping forwards. The left flank tied up, the Terminators hot footed it towards the autocannon uber-unit and opened fire. He killed a further 7 men, but not enough to cause me concern. The Multimelta bike targetted the Leman Russ, and at less than 12" I had a sweaty moment before Paul rolled a 2.

Paul's Terminators trudge towards the guardsmen's line

'I should really do something about that bike.' I thought to myself. 'It's quite dangerous and might actually roll a 3 in turn 3.' The Dreadnought added its stormbolter to the attacks killing the autocannon guardsmen (I still don't know what he had against them, very confusing)... The missile Launcher also rolled a 2 to hit (a pattern perhaps). The other combat squads moved into cover.

The Roughrider succumbed to the Assault marines, but not before the two sergeants had killed the Space Marine Sergeant - no meltabombs for YOU! The remaining 4 assault marines moved into cover.

With half his army out of range I concentrated considerable firepower on the real threats. The Leman Russ blew a hole in the Assault squad and the combined fire of this and the command HQ chimera reduced the assault squad to a single member. The Banewolf moved 18" and sailed past the single assault marine looking to hit it. He was subsequently gunned down by another 'gunship' chug which added 2 krak grenade launcher shots to the fusilade.

The Attack bike came under furious fire, but I underestimated its T5 and it lost only a single wound. The two uber-units targetted the Dreadnought (doing nothing) and the Terminators... the combined fire of this lascannon unit, the basilisk shot and an empty Chimera resulted in just one dead Terminator. Paul was rolling 2+ like he was born to it.

The last Infantry Platoon HQ lined up and fired it's 14 gun salute. And Paul rolled 3 1's on 6 dice. Now we're getting somewhere. 5 Terminators down, 6 to go.

'Will somebody please shoot Chuck Norris over there...'

The surviving member of the Assault squad bounced towards the Basilisk. For a moment I panicked - why hadn't I moved that damn model at least an inch, but he was outside 6 inch charge and couldn't grapple me with his krak grenades. The squads at the back moved into cover. The Multimelta in the centre squad lined up for the banewolf, as did the Missile Launcher. Luckily for me the Space Marines had been training with the local PDF too long and ridiculous missing occured again.

The Attack Bike was less frugal and switching targets from the 'lucky' Russ, he wrecked an infantry command Chimera. The Infantry command piled out and stood next to their wrecked tank - ready to fire.

The Dreadnought (with only a stormbolter) wasted a run combining his fire with the Termies against the Autocannons. I should point out that Paul repeated pointed out that he 'couldn't wait for them to run off the board', but with a regimental banner and a commissar I had three rerolls on a Ld9 effectively. Like any smart player I kept this to myself. This turn, he had whittled the poor autocannon crew down to its last remaining plebs. So much so that only the NCO's, the commissar, the autocannon teams and the comms model remained. They passed their Ld9.

First up I moved up with the banewolf and the Basilisk. With no where to run - I move to point blank range with the assault marine and pointed my heavy flamer at him. Not trusting the heavy flamer, I also pointed the command HQ's Chimera's guns at him. My cunning 'Plan' is to kill the assault fly with the HQ transport,which frees up my basilisk to shoot something juicy.

I roll a total of 11 dice at the guy (heavy stubber, multilaser, heavy bolter (BS4), 2 krak grenades (BS4)) and Paul jokes that if this guy saves from this lot, he'll be Chuck Norris. He saves 6 wounds on a 3+ ... I revert to plan B, the heavy flamer - he saves.

'Sticking to the plan' is something I believe in. This is why my Leman Russ didn't shoot this man, but instead targetted the termies. The BattleCannon Blast caused 5 wounds and the heavy bolters a further 4, but he saves everything.

The banewolf is more successful. moving 12" up to the plasmagun combat squad it toasts 4 out of 5 on a 2+. Paul says 'Eeek!' and we carry on. I kit out my Banewolf with a multimelta and a heavy stubber for just such a 'survivor' - in this case it wasn't much help as I fail to kill the plasma gunner. I have to distract the 'unmanned' Chug to kill him. The other Chimeras and two uber-squads plow firepower into the Attack Bike and the Dreadnought. The Attack Bike soaks up a horrific amount of firepower - draining away all my attacks for the termies. However he's eventually murdered by a FRFSRF command from the autocannon survivors. This 'redundantifies' (to use a Bushism) the autocannons though.

Frantic shooting at 'THAT DAMN DREADNOUGHT' results in another weapon destroyed result. Facing an armless uninjurable dreadnought proves too amusing, as the 40k equivilent of 'the black knight' prepares to charge my 'unhurt' 31 man lascannon ubersquad.

'Tis but a fleshwound...!'

Chuck Norris makes it to his target and puts a bolt round in the side of the tank to let the crew know he's there. The Dreadnought charges into the Lascannon horde. The terminators shooting allows me to peel of the obvious target, but the Terminators still make close combat trudging across terrain.

The Missile Launcher proves resplendently useless at killing my banewolf (again!) and the multimelta team have no target on the anti MEQ tank.

So it all come down to close combat. Chuck Norris scores a hit, but fails to penetrate the Basilisk.

'You may be quite hard to kill, Chuck Norris, but you're crap with a krak grenade!'

The Terminator Sergeant AND one Terminator get to combat. He killed puts two wounds on a weapon squad (only S4), I roll a surprising 15 dice in defence (3 sergeants, commissar, heavy weapon team and a comms boy) and cause three wounds but none provoke a 1. My remnant (surrounded by littered bodies) fail by three, but the commissar in Stubborn, Ld9 and has a regimental banner nearby.

The 'Black Knight' squashes one man beneath his mighty carapace. I can't hurt the Dread but pass my morale check easily.

In my turn, the banewolf 'disolves' all but one squad of the missile launcher team, while the Chimeras break left and right to avoid the Termies. The furthest Chug gets immobilised (bloody 1's) and decides to shoot up the remaining Missile Launcher. The Basilisk floors it (a whole 7 inches) and flattens the assault marine (who had a choice between being pushed off the board or do or die ... he did, he died!)

The Leman Russ Rolls straight past the Termies and opens fire on the 'multimelta' squad that had shot at my fleeing Chugs (and missed). He caused multiple wounds with the battlecannon and heavy bolter, reducing the squad to 2 men.

In close combat the Dreadnought fails to wound with its single attack and the guardsmen stand around, not even able to attack it with frag grenades.

The other uber-horde is less lucky. With the remainder of the Termies piling in and Lysander joining the fray, only one round of combat was holding back this unit. As the combat is now moving into my turn, I'm hopeful that at least one man can hang on... this hope is dashed as the space marine sergeant quickly dispatches everyone but the commissar. My commissar stands alone against Lysander and buddy and manages 3 hits and 2 wounds. Paul rolls a 1 and the squads sergeant goes down. Autocannon Horde is down, the termies consolidate next to the Leman Russ

Commissar Bob sacrifices 30 men to get one good jab into the Terminator Sergeant

'Mopping up...'

The turn starts with the missile launcher taking one last pop at the banewolf with his missile launcher, S8 v AV12 is a bit much and HE fails again. The multimelta in the middle has little or no target and the squad on the other side are now playing 'killpoint deniance'. The close combat in the centre is predictable, with the dread killing one more guardsmen. The terminators destroy the leman russ and mange to kill a few more 'close combating' guardsmen in the mix.

In my turn, the mobile units near the terminators scatter. The Command Chimera and freed up Basilisk target the meltagun squad on the left flank and manage to kill them all. The banewolf melts the remaining missile launcher, leaving two tactical marines with an out of range multimelta. The immobilised infantry command chimera (still thankfully out of charge range) pummels the termies with fire to no avail.

'Final points...'

The banewolf, remaining chimeras and other units target the last combat squad as the terminatiors and lysander dive into closecombat with the lascannon horde. The horde looses two combats badly, but manage to kill another terminator and Lysanders brough to a single wound. The Commissar continues to care not a jot and Paul is surprised to discover that the commissar is a squad upgrade and not an independent character (and therefore cannot be singled out!).

FINAL SCORE: 7-4 to the Guard.


I was very pleased with the performance of this army. Albeit Paul had brought the wrong weapons. I'd designed this army to face tough opponents and to 'nullify' an uber unit. The 10 terminators and Lysander were certainly that. What surprised me was the lack of drop pods, rhinos etc. He appeared to bring a short ranged gunline to fight my gunline - which is odd.

CHIMERAS: I suppose, when he saw all the chimeras fielded against him he thought 'lots of melta-targets', but in using the Chugs as a pillboxes they were invaluable. Throwing 14-15 dice per tank (thats 14 shots for 115 points BTW) was awesome, and it gave me a bit of tactical flexibility that was lacking with the 'uber-units'.

UBER SQUADS: The uber-squads are great. Ld9, double reroll Ld tests and stubborn are awesome lynch pins. The ability to offer a 'bring it down' or FRFSRF (or 'fire by rank' as I prefer to call it!) are the most useful combo's. Otherwise the boys just sit tight and soak it up. Flamers would have been my bane with this formation though, and this does concern me.

BANEWOLF: The banewolf was great, but in its anti-MEQ roll I'm seeing a strong justification for saving 15pts and dropping the multimelta. Yes, it'll reduce its antitank threat but thats no bad thing. However in multiple situations the chem-cannon failed to kill a single model - resulting in only 4 additional shots. A support heavy bolter would bring 6 shots to finish the job. Ok, they'd get saving throws ... but the odds are pretty good that they'll fail one. Better in fact than the chances of me hitting with a multimelta (it miss all game) or the space marine failing his cover save.

BASILISK: I was expecting great things from the bassie, but the leman russ actually killed much much more. The bassie was a great 'assault marine' magnet and the fact it survived was tops. I suppose I shouldn't underestimate the bassies threat on the game, which basically forced all the smurfs into cover for fear of their power armour. On average, a good buy for just 125pts.

ROUGHRIDERS: Who'd want to leave these beauties at home. They're great. The shock for Paul was being hit in cover first (frag) with I5, S5 power weapons. Despite really poor rolling they made their points in a charge. I'm struggling not to find a role for these guys as the Guard usually roll with at least one indirect fire attack option. Roughriders are the perfect bargain unit for complimenting them.

'If I'd been running the space marines, what would I have done?'

Terminators: Ok deepstrike is scary, but running the length of the board is meh? If you are going to run them ... RUN THEM ... paul stopped off for too many shooting at an unroutable squad - which were pointless. They would have worked better running the length of the board and getting into stomp range the sooner.

Tacticals: These guys were desparately needing transports. Tactical squads without razorbacks and rhinos meant that I could effectively ignore half of Pauls army. By the time I moved in for the kill, each five man squad was facing torrents of fire that would decimate his lines. Even running a couple of squads in behind the Terminators would have given him options and threatened my hordes with overwhelming attacks, and my tanks with krak grenades. As it was the banewolf was perfectly placed to kill and kill again.

Assault Marines: I love assault marines, but against this torrent of fire they had no chance. The roughriders did a wonderful job of killing them on the left flank and neutering the threat of such a large squad. Once down to 4-5 models these guys were easy meat for the ordinance and heavy dakka on the board. I was very lucky to have the bassie survive, but that's only one killpoint and the assault marines were outside of range. They would have been much better running down the middle or jump moving behind a rhino shield wall.

Dreadnought: I was actually pretty impressed with the vanilla dreadnought - it shrugged of firepower that should have downed it. It wasn't a game maker, but it tied up 31 men for half the game. Doh!?!

Final Thoughts...

A thoroughly enjoyable game, leaving the mortars at home proved less painful than expected. The sheer amount of shots the chimera pillboxes and leman russ delivered was breathtaking (60 S4-6 a turn, plus a S8 AP3 ordinance blast) and the uber-squads provided durability and good shooting with 'bring it down' and 'fire by rank'.

The real advantage for me in this game was my opponents unfamiliarity with facing guardsmen. He espected a commissar led uber squad to rout (not going to happen), he was surprised that roughriders had frag grenades, and he was stunned at the killiness of the Banewolf. He simply shouldn't have been.

His ignorance of my forces basic strengths proved the spacemarines undoing. The Assault squads were undermined by roughriders, the tactical squads in cover gained no advantage against the banewolf and the firepower alloted (A total of 73 shots at 32") made cover or no cover irrelevant ... I just rolled enough shots until he rolled enough one's. Against heavy armour I might struggle, but three lascannons are enough to worry most tanks and the amount of mid strength shots can take out light and medium transports...

In Annihilation games, against an opponent willing to march onto your guns, this is ok. against a more wilely opponent (or mechanised) it may prove less useful. Plus both the last games have been annihilation ... which has allowed me to sit back and shoot. I shall bend my mind into adapting the force to 'break' into a competitive objective grabbing force, without sacrificing too much firepower.

This shouldn't be too hard, thanks to the flexibility of choosing to combine units before a game and the number of Chimeras enabling me to 'split' the force very quickly.