Who let the dogs out?
After a long absence, Wednesday Night Gaming returns with a tale of a 1250 point game of 40K.
WARNING: This battle report is not for the faint hearted. I shall state first and foremost that this is THE WORST game of 40K I have ever had the (dis)pleasure of playing, and conversely possibly one of the best for my opponent. Credit to him is due, as he refrained from rubbing any form of smug delightfulness in my face as I sat through and took a hammering so bad, I wondered if it was even worth the effort attending our Games Night!
Read on and despair at the following tragicomedy.
Here at Wednesday Night Gaming we always aim to push the boundaries on what we can achieve with our lists, and I myself try to try something new each time where possible, hence ‘Strikeforce Cerberus’, a Banewolf (!) heavy list.
With only 1250 points to play with, I adapted a previously-Psyker heavy list (hence the inclusion of 2 Primaris) to incorporate Banewolves, and a core trio of Chimeltas, with a Basilisk for funtimes-from-above. The idea is to have a mobile, ‘close-assault’ (or as near as applicable the term is for the Imperial Guard) mech force with some cheeky, hidden artillery to force my Marine opponent to engage closer and closer, where I will let rip with the Poisoned (2+) AP3 weaponry of deadly dogbreath from ‘Marmaduke’, ‘Odi’, and ‘Beethoven’. Good doggies!
As we started out we elected to play WYSIWYG ‘hidden list’ setup with a minimum of proxies (I used Russes for my Banewolves) and so I did not know of Laur’s forces until we started playing and glancing at the list that is what I call, the ‘Guns of Ultramar’, you can see that Laur has begun mixing in fierce gunline elements with his Predator duo and a mighty Landraider, all Lascannon’d to the max, with jump troop Assault Marines to help provide manoeuvrability and flexibility as and where required, and tactical split down the middle with meltas and missile launchers to pack a powerful punch both at long range and short.
Clearly in hindsight I would have a tough battle to contend with, as I have sacrificed the long range dominance of the trusty Leman Russes for the close-assault orientated Banewolves, backed up by heavy flamer Chimeltas with shotgun vets, a tactic I have used usually with some success, so now it is up to the terrain setup to see which battlefield would favour which ‘army style’.
I note here that Doug, the third party, then proceeded to setup the terrain in a manner suitable for him prior to selection of mission, deployment, and introduction of forces, so what he has done here is gone for a very sparse deployment of terrain as seen from the map graphic and photographs. There are some hills, and a smattering of 4+ area terrain that are ruins and ‘jungles’ that would count as difficult terrain.
Ironically, it was Laur who protested that there was not enough cover, and when I threw in my 2-cents worth that the cover should be 25% of the board, Doug mentioned that he thought ‘Hills’ that gave elevated positions, but did not give much obscuration of LOS or provide area terrain cover, counted as part of the 25%. Laur and I personally didn’t think so, but eventually we thought the terrain’s been setup so let’s just play and get on with it.
Doug sets the board up.
So we roll off and the deployment is Pitched Battle, with the mission being Capture & Control, and Laur gets to go first, and objectives are then placed as such, with his behind jungle terrain, and mine as hidden away as possible behind the hills:
Little did I know that with the terrain and Laur’s first go, I would pay the price!
Laur deploys everything he’s got in a stretch across his objective, allowing the benefit of a cover save to his missile launcher combat squads, with his guns to the side, and the assault squad at the edge, possibly to discourage flanking.
At this point Laur still doesn’t know what sort of heat my list is packing, so in a way it’s a gamble to leave everything in the open even with the 1 in 6 risk of me stealing the Initiative. Luckily, he’s not nothing to worry about.
Laur deploys his arsenal.
IMPERIAL GUARD DEPLOYS
At this point I’m at a loss, as the board is so open with very little cover to shield my tanks and obscure them LOS-wise, I decide instead of placing my forces completely in reserve as I reasoned that I’d take the risk instead of feeding in my tanks and men in a dripfeed manner privy to the grace of the Reserve Rolls, I’d convinced myself that with Laur’s notoriously usual bad rolling I would be able to take my lumps, bite the bullet, grin and bear it, and be okay for a turn 2 rush to get completely stuck in.
So, reasoning instead of letting Laur pick my men off one by one as they enter the board edge, I would offer the maximum amount of targets and wishfully thinking that a majority of my army would survive the first round of shooting, the plan was, in reaction to his bunched deployment, I would place a Basilisk as far away as possible to remain unmolested, and rush my Chimeltas forward with smoke to threaten his guns, rush the Banewolves to mop up any exposed Marines with the AP3 weaponry, with Marbo popping up to throw a spanner in the works. The Chimeras I place in as best a way as I can, hoping that the hills would grant even a semblance of cover. I leave one Banewolf in Reserve, reasoning that this would discourage a last-minute objective contesting grab by his Assault troops.
(Again in hindsight, I could have deployed all to the right of the Landraider, to force his hand at pivoting his army round to engage a flank, armoured charge. But then, the Assault troops by the right did discourage me from doing this).
NOTE: While an objective-based mission, I have elected to display KP values, just to show you all by how far a margin of a walloping I took.
TURN 1 SPACE MARINES:
1. Laur attempts to hide his Assault squad behind the Landraider, in his usual cautious manner, while Rhinos move forward popping smoke.
2. Landraider pivots round to engage the Basilisk, misses almost all it’s shots and fails to penetrate on the only hit. Laur’s bad rolling strikes again?
3. I speak to soon! Laur’s Predators take aim at my Chimelta’s. With an arsenal of twin-linked lascannons, autocannons and the like, 2 of my Chimeltas are both stunned, shaken & immobilised each as every shot contacts and penetrates!
4. 2 missile launchers from the split-combat squads in the jungle fire at the Banewolf, destroying it! BOOM.
Ultrasmurfs consider forming a conga line.
At this point I realise that I had made a huge mistake not putting my forces in reserve, rushing them out later with smoke launchers a-go-go. This mistake being compounded by the fact that despite the hills and jungles, my vehicles are all effectively out in the open.
Score is 1 KP to Marines. We both control an objective each.
TURN 1 IMPERIAL GUARD
1. I charge my remaining free Chimelta and Banewolf forward, poppin’ smoke.
2. The Basilisk fires at the Predator, manipulating the template to try to cover some of the Assault Squad. Unfortunately it deviates full during the ordnance barrage as the Pred’s out of sight, but fortunately it scatters over a combat squad, killing 2 despite jungle cover. Result!
Ping pong ball & tissue paper smoke clouds.
Score is still 1 KP to Marines. We both control an objective each.
TURN 2 SPACE MARINES
1. Assault Marines keep moving, or jumping, to behind the jungle, as the Rhinos scoot ever closer.
2. The impressive Arsenal, unmolested after Turn 1 that is the Guns of Macragge fire away again! The Landraider pops the Basilisk, wrecking it. There goes my only source of long range support.
3. Preds immobilised my last free-wheeling Chimelta as I fail my cover save, and a weapon destroyed to the already-immobilised Chimera furthest to the left.
4. Missile launchers remove the Chemical Cannon of the Banewolf as it fails its cover save, thus taking away it’s threatening bite.
Score now 2 KP’s to Marines. Still both controlling an objective.
TURN 2 IMPERIAL GUARD
1. Banewolf charges forward and lets rip with it’s heavy flamer. No result.
2. Chimeras try their luck with the heavy bolters, missing all their shots.
3. Everything is still out of reach for the men in the Chimera’s to shoot.
4. Marbo makes an appearance! He pops up to contest (woohoo!) chucks his demo charge, and it bounces back landing on him! No injuries to anyone though, and Marbo himself goes to ground to benefit from a 2+ cover save.
Marbo reveals his position, punching the air in glorious abandon.
Score still 2 KP’s to Marines. I am now ‘winning’ as I control my own objective, but in all honesty I am the picture of despair.
WHY ME, DICE GODS? WHY?!
TURN 3 SPACE MARINES
1. Laur’s forces rush forward for a real push, with the Chronus Pred peppering a Chimera with fire, stunning and shaking it still.
2. Landraider destroys the Banewolf with everything it’s got (even the HK missile)
3. Pred and meltaguns in the Rhinos make contact with their guns on my furthest forward Chimera, resulting in 3 weapon destroyed results and a Wrecked result. Men disembark.
4. The 2 combat squads turn towards Marbo, peppering him with small arms fire causing a wound, and charging him in assault. Marbo manages to kill one before succumbing to his last wound.
R.I.P. Marbo – Humped to death by Smurf Bonga-bonga. He will be missed.
Score now 5 KP’s to Marines, and we’re back to both controlling our objectives.
TURN 3 IMPERIAL GUARD
1. My last Banewolf finally makes an entrance, and charges forward with smoke, attempting a hail mary last ditch attempt to contest. I tell myself it is possible! I CAN DO IT! YES I CAN
2. I successfully cast Nightshroud in the hopes it’ll grant some sort of extra cover to my men rummaging about the hills. They inch forward and take aim with their 3no. meltaguns, resulting in 2 misses and 1 hit which doesn’t scratch. Not being close enough for the 6” melta rule to kick in.
Harakoni’s crawl from the wreckage.
Score is 5 KP’s to Marines, both controlling our objectives.
TURN 4 SPACE MARINES
1. A big, real push by the Marines as they get stuck in!
2. Predator and Landraider easily take out the Banewolf, which fails all its cover saves as it takes lascannons, HK missiles, and multi-melta shots, wrecking it.
3. Chronus-Pred and a meltagun shot from a Rhino takes out my other Chimera, killing 3 men, who hold their nerve.
3. Assault Marines flame my squad of Harakoni’s, killing 4. On the charge, they then wipe the whole squad out (including the Psyker, proving Nightshroud is a useless power against the high leadership Marines!) before retracting to a more favourable position.
Score an impressive margin of 9KP’s to Marines, though miraculously I still control my objective, as does Laur.
TURN 4 IMPERIAL GUARD
1. The meltaguns of my now token resistance shoots at a Rhino to see if they can take ANYTHING down to remedy this disgrace, missing all their shots.
An absolute thrashing
At this point I throw in the towel, acknowledging that while it’s technically still a draw, Laur’s 2 Rhinos, each with 5 Marines, and the Assault Squad, will easily contest my last objective and smash my men to a pulp.
Truly, this was a humiliating defeat for my Imperial Guard.
Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Here’s why:
1. Wrong army list: A Guard list geared towards close encounters, designed to take out footsloggers, bike spam, and assault Marines, picked apart by a long range gunline Marine army. The only close support I had, I wasted, the Banewolves that formed the majority chunk of points in my army, were wasted.
2. Bad terrain: Or rather, good terrain for Laur, bad for me. See above.
3. Bad Deployment: My feeble attempt to hide my tanks meant Laur had a multitude of choice of targets to cherry pick with his long reach. See 1 and 2.
4. Going Second: Items 1-3 above are bad enough. Going second made it worse!
Everything above here can be traced to the root cause, the ‘metagame’ that is the army list. I took the chance of pushing my list a certain direction, and was punished severely for this.
Sure my rolls were bad, but I truly believe that even if I had gone first, perhaps used the terrain a bit better, even asked for a redeployment of the terrain getting more LOS-obscuring items on the table, put my forces in reserve, or even PASSED a single cover save, I would have still lost.
Simple. Wrong army.
It may have been the ‘right’ army for a different force, but Laur brought gunline, and I did not bring anything to counter this possibility. Like the bank robbery in the movie, this was a disaster of an outing.
Laur had me on the backfoot from the get-go, but even then, a close-encounter’s army only starts to shine at the later turns once it gets stuck in, reaching from one deployment zone to another. I did not do this, as successive immobilised results meant even though I was all ‘mech’ed’ up, my list had no legs to run on (pun intended!) once it got itself kneecapped!
This was game I did not enjoy I’ll be honest, but I have learnt the harshest of lessons here, and this battle report will serve as a warning to all!
1. When setting up terrain, the rulebook states that ‘cover’ should take up 25% of the board. Do hills and elevated positions count as part of this 25%? What if they do not obscure LOS, do they still count? Therefore would it be possible to setup a ‘Desert’/Arid landscape consisting of all hills and mounds, but no LOS-denial, and still count as 25% cover?
Thanks for reading!