Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Honorguard Battle Summaries

Chapter Champion and TDA Honorguard

I have been playing a lot of Minecraft lately, so I have been on a bit of a 40K hiatus.  However, the "semi-local friendly gaming store" hosted another 1500 tournament this Saturday.  I am starting to really get into the 1500 scene... it's cheaper and does seem to allow older/themed armies to compete better than at the higher levels.  I decided to bust out my Ultramarine Honorguard (Counts as GK) again and here's how they did:

Tournament Overview
The tournament was a three-round RTT-like tournament with Battle, Painting, and Comp Scores.  There were about 20 people with a solid mix of armies.  I saw IG, Marines, BT, GK, Eldar, Orks, a couple of Necrons, and a couple of DE.  Noticibly absent were SW and BA.... two tournaments in a row without them.  The missions were based on normal missions (KP and Sieze Ground) with slight "Christmas Theme" twists.  The games were broken down into Major/Minor/Tie with 2 bonus points per round.  Unfortunately, not a single one of my opponents had an extra army list, so I am going from memory.  My army consisted of:

Draigo (Chapter Champ)
5 Pallies with 2 Pyscannons, 2 DHs, and Brother Hood Banner
5 GKSS with Pyscannon and Pysback
5 GKSS with Pyscannon and Pysback
5 GKSS with Pyscannon and Pysback
2 Pyflemen
1 Dreadknight with no upgrades (CALGAR!)

It's a really weird/unbalanced army, and I was really worried about the DE lists floating around.  I almost busted out my normal Space Marine army, but ended up just saying "screw it."

Round 1 vs Orks
Mission:  KP with all game nightfight and all game difficult terrain everywhere (blizzard)
Major Win: 5+ more KPs than your opponent
Minor Win: More KPs
Deployment: Dawn of War

My opponent brought a mix of Ork units including Warboss, Warphead, Nobs, lots of Boyz, Tankbustas, and Killa Kans.  This game was kind of all over the place.  My opponent was not familar with the current edition of the rules and we had a lot of rules issues over the game, which slowed the game down (4 turns total). 

The all-game nightfight/difficult terrain completely changed the dynamic of the game, slowing him down signficantly, but limiting my ability to whittle him down at range.  I won the roll to go first and let him have it, so I could refuse flank.  He deployed two large units of Boyz at the center line and I rolled in on as a tight castle on the right flank.  I really wasn't worried about losing the game, as long as I kept him from taking out the easy Razorback KPs and getting off crazy charges with multiple units at the same time.  However, his Warphead went crazy and almost swung the game himself.  He blasted a Razorback and the resulting explosion killed four GKSS standing next to the Razorback... ouch.  I had some bad rolling (downfall of small armies) and didn't do too much damage until like Turn 3, so it was looking pretty grim, especially when he got a WAAGH from his Warphead.  The only thing that saved me was he was a hair out of assault range, allowing me to counter-charge his Boyz/Warboss with my Pallies and hit his Warphead and Boyz with Calgar.  Calgar punked the Warphead, the Pallies killed the Warboss, and his Boyz broke.  Next turn he counter charged with his banged up Kans, but the Pallies krunked them too.  At the end of the game, I had a 4+ KP advantage, but would have needed another turn or two to get the Major.

Round 2 vs BT
Mission:  5 Objective Size Ground with units being able to claim rerolls from objectives
Major Win: 3+ More Objectives than your opponent
Minor Win: More Objectives
Deployment: Spearhead

My opponent had a very nasty, shooty list with (from memory):

Emp's Champion with Preferred Enemy Vow
5 Tacticals with Las/Plas and Rhino
5 Tacticals with Las/Plas and Rhino
5 Tacticals with Las/Plas and Rhino
Venerable Dreadnought with TLLC and Tank Hunter
5 Terminators with 2 CML and Tank Hunter
Typhoon with Tank Hunter
Typhoon with Tank Hunter
Typhoon with Tank Hunter
Predator with AC/LC with Tank Hunter
Predator with AC/LC with Tank Hunter

I have to say I was very impressed and intimdated by this list... It's something very similar to how I run my Smurfs (just without the fun stuff like Tank Hunter).  He won first turn and sat up in a great firing position on two objectives in the back right corner, with one Rhino towards the center to go after other objectives.  His ability to shoot and kill lots of Pallies/Razors left me with a hard decision to make.  I could deploy, try to sieze, and try to weather the fire to get across the board, or I could try to go reserves and roll in from the board edge.  With all the tank hunters, I didn't expect my Razorbacks to last long enough to get into position, and I simply wouldn't have a good way to push him off the two objectives.  Since I only got a minor win the previous round, I decided to go big or go home. 

I made my DK and a Dread scoring with Grand Strategy, and I put everything into reserve with Draigo, the Pallies, and the DK deep-striking in.  After warning my opponent that I could come in from the full long table edge (he almost left me with all sorts of shots on Typhoons and side armor of Preds), I rolled up reserves and got Draigo/Pallies, the DK, a Pysfleman, and a Razorback, overall a very lucky set of reserves.  The Razor rolled in, popped smoke, and dropped a GKSS near cover with shots on a Rhino on the right.  The Pysfleman came in on the right also.  The Pallies deepstruck in the center of his half of the board with side shots on a Pred.  The DK deepstruck in on the far left on a lone objective.  Shooting stunned the Rhino, stunned/weapon destroyed the right Pred, and killed the left Pred.  I had disabled over half of AP2 shooting, so I would be able to operate fairly freely with my Pallies/DK.

On his turn he unloaded tons of frags into my Pallies, and forced a lot of wounds, but I didn't lose any.  He took some shots at my Razor/Dread but didn't do much.  I retaliated by killing his objective pushing Rhino and charging the guys inside with the Pallies.  I also immobilized a Typhoon and Pred on the right side.  My reserve GKSS came in on the center objectives and started shooting at his Rhinos on the right.  My DK tried to stomp after a Typhoon, but was slow and unwilling to stray too far from the objective.

From that point on, my Pallies stomped towards his objectives, taking lots of fire the whole time.  Shooting from Razors/GKSS killed his Typhoons and cleared a Rhino and BT from another objective while he whittled down my dismounted units of GKSS.  The game ended with me holding 4 objectives to his one, with Pallies bearing down on his last troop unit.  I think had he been more aggressive with his Termies (they hung back on the right side the whole time) then he could have cleaned off a center objective or two, bringing it to up to a minor.  Overall, it was a great game, and I was just glad that there weren't any rules issues.

Round 3 vs GK
Mission:  KPs or Sieze Ground (randomly rolled on Turn 3 for each opponent)
Major Win: Win your objective and keep your opponent from winning theirs
Minor Win: 150+ more VPs
Deployment: Pitched Battle

My opponent ran an interesting GK list.  He normally runs Draigo Wing, so he knew what Pallies were capable of.

Brother Captain
5 Terminators with Pyscannon
10 GKSS with Pyscannons in Rhino
5 GKSS with Pyscannon with TLLC Razor
5 Interceptors
TLLC Dread

I was feeling very confident, as I had a major range AND CC advantage, had made the DK and Dreads scoring, and had first turn.  I set up centrally and just planned on moving into the center and smashing anything I could with the Pallies.  I might have some issues with KPs, but figured I it would be alright.  He set up across from me with Interceptors on my right flank and the Rhino with 10 GKSS on the left, so I felt I had it in the bag.  The only problem is that he promptly siezed and blew up two Razorbacks first go.  Not cool...

I responded by trying to kill off the Vindicare and TLLC Razorback, but did a really bad job of judging distance, allowing the Vindicare to survive.  Luckily, on his next turn he was unable to destroy Draigo's SS and only put a wound or two on the DK.  The rest of the shooting was ineffectual.  I then proceeded to finish off the Vindicare, the Rhino, and took shots at the Termies and Dreadnought, which did nothing.

On turn three, I rolled up objectives and he rolled KPs.  I had a very firm grip on objectives, but KPs were neck and neck.  He eventually managed to smoke the DK with shooting and killed a Dread with his Interceptors.  I countercharged the Interceptors and wiped them, leaving us tied on KPs (My two Razors, Dread, and DK vs his Vindicare, Razor, Rhino, and Interceptors).  Our Dreads range-slapped at each other with no effect and I was unable to force him to fail Termy saves.  We each reduced a 5 man Strike Squad to one guy, and then promptly got the remnants out of LOS to preserve the KPs.  At the end of Turn 5, I had four or five of the objectives and we were tied on KPs.  If the game ended, I would win... if it went another turn, then he had a good chance of picking off a Razorback that I had mispositioned.  I could possibly kill his Dread (Pallies and my Dread were staring it down) to tie it back up, but I didn't want to leave it up to chance.  Luckily, chance favored me and ended the game at the bottom of Turn 5, giving me the Major Win.

So at the end of the tournament I had won two Major Wins and a Minor Win with a good number of bonus points.  I had maxed painting, but got killed on comp (most everyone else did too... completely subjective with no rubric).  However, I managed to squeak out the highest total by one point (second place was one of the DE players I had been lucky to avoid).

I was a little rusty and did not do a good job with my positioning at several points, but I think I did a good job of choosing the right macro strategies/deployments for each game.  I really enjoy playing the GKs, as they are flexible with solid melee, shooting, and deployment options.  They are a bit slow and portions can't take a punch, but they can do alright with decent matchups.  I was very fortunate that I did not hit DE or even IG/Tau, as they would have easily demeched me and/or blown up the Pallies.  I still believe that in small 3-round tournaments, matchups and missions play a major part in determining the overall winner.   Don't get me wrong, lists and skill still count for a large portion, but getting a good matchup or avoiding a bad one is a non-trivial aspect of playing in smaller ponds. 

Random Unit Thoughts
Speaking of the Pallies, they are NOT a shooty unit.  As much as I have tried to use them as a mobile firebase, they are too slow and have too short of a range to really be a great shooting unit.  They really only make their points back if they can either get stuck in or absorb lots of fire... or both.  The main weakness of the list is to focus fire on the Razors with S6-7, hit Dreads with S8+, and torrent the GKSS that fall out.  Ignore the Pallies as long as you can, either blocking them with transports, or focusing them once everything else is dead.  The Pallies simply cannot kill enough with shooting to make up for losses taken by the squisher parts of the army and are too slow to get into combat if you run away.  But once they are in combat, they blow up just about anything, and can make back their points in buckets.

The naked DK has been worth his weight in gold!  130 points is a great deal for a deepstriking, T6, 4W MC with 2+/5++ and the ability to be made scoring.  Most games I have him deepstrike in later in the game once most of the AP2 threats are done, and he can just run rampant through parking lots and MSU squads.  That or he can simply sit on a backfield objective (like in Round 2) and keep it safe from pretty much anything that was somehow able to avoid the Pallies/GKSS in midfield.  I may add a teleporter to him in 2K games, but he is not bad as is.

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