Monday, April 12, 2010

Battle Report III, part one: The Board is Set

Yesterday, we fought the third battle between my budding Onorevoli Chapter and The Honorable Referee Pitmann’s dreaded Iron Warriors. With a mere two games behind them, the Onorevoli have a "lifetime record" of 0-1-1, and I had high hopes that this would be the day for parity with, if not rightful vengeance against, Ref P’s Iron Warriors…

INITIAL DETAILS: Capture and Control/Pitched Battle. Funny that. Last report I mentioned that I was really looking forward to the new Battle Missions book (which I was, and which I continue to think is a brilliant expansion), and yet we played a standard old mission anyway. I’m not sure why, really. Next time.

Anyway, we each weighed in-or-around 2100pts. Give or take.

Perhaps in the spirit of the expansion rules that we weren’t actually playing, we did decide to mix things up slightly. As ever, we selected our armies discreetly from what we had available, and then chose both the mission and our respective table sides. After that, we took turns placing scenery. Then deployed. And then, finally, we placed our objectives. I know this isn’t exactly kosher, but we felt that it added a little something unexpected and unconventional to the proceedings (as very nearly all our games are against one another, it helps to keep the smaller moments of the game from becoming rote).

Chaos Space Marine Squad I and II: 10 CSM (Chaos Glory, Plasma x2, Plasma Pistol and Power Fist)
Berzerker Squad I and II: 10 Bezerkers (Plasma Pistol x2)
Chaos Dreadnaught
Land Raider

In Reserve:
Daemon Prince (Khorne, Wings)
Obliterators (3)
Terminator Squad I and II: 5 Terminators (x3 Power Fist, Combi Melta, Reaper AC)

I was extremely surprised to see Pitmann create a force without some of his “go to” units, both for the novelty and for the omission of several units that I loathe. He eschewed all of his standard Fast choices and structured his Bezerkers without their standard Rhino taxi. Hmmmm. Something was clearly afoot.

Nevertheless, I had a distinct advantage during deployment. Surely, I was pleased to see him get outside his comfort zone, but the nature of this mission meant that he was going to be doubly pressed into making some even more uncomfortable decisions. The Honorable Referee Pitmann didn’t yet know where my objective would be and, as such, he was obligated to cover all possibilities with his Troops if he had any intention of claiming said objective. By comparison, I presumed (correctly) that he would place his marker in the middle underneath the Landing Platform.

And indeed, Pitmann built an extremely tough fortress with both the LR and the Defiler over/around his objective in the middle. With the solid Castle established then, Pitmann deployed the rest of his force more-or-less symmetrically –with the standard CSM squad on either side and the Bezerkers on either wing. The Dreadnaught lumbered onto his left flank between the CSM and Bezerkers. Perhaps he was gambling that my Objective would land on my right (his left)… but more on that tomorrow and Thursday. One of the standard CSM squads would necessarily ensure that he held his own Objective, so at least one or the other was unlikely to wander; however, the Bezerker deployment pretty much guaranteed that one or the other would be utterly redundant (the only other choice would have been to start with a massive blob in the middle, which would hardly have been ideal).

This, I believe, was one of those early and agonizing choices in the game that we all know and love, and one where he immediately mentioned a sense of “buyers remorse” in his unconventional army selection. His Bikers and/or Raptors (although pricey) would have been ideally situated to reach out and touch any point on the table.

And again, more on this as the game develops.

At this point I thought to myself, “I wonder where all those extra points went.” As it turns out, The Ref still had four terrifyingly potent units that would be dropping in to say hello, and that were bound to cause problems in my half of the table if they could only arrive in a timely and accurate fashion… if.

Librarian I (Terminator, Storm Shield, Avenger/Quickening)
Librarian II (Terminator, Combi-Melta, Avenger/Quickening)

Scouts I: 10 Scouts (Sniper, Missile Launcher, Camo Cloaks, and Telion)
Scouts II and III: 5 Scouts (Heavy Bolter, Teleport Homer)
Scouts IV: 5 Scouts (Sniper, Missile Launcher, Camo Cloaks)

Devestators: (Lascannon x4)

In Reserve:
Venerable Dread with Multi Melta and Drop Pod
Terminator I: 7 Terminators (Autocannon, Chain Fist)
Terminator II: 5 Terminators (Thunder Hammer/ Storm Shield)

I placed my Objective on my extreme back and left. As mentioned, this cut half of his foot-bound Troops choices off from the relevant action. I hoped that this would make it unlikely, then, that he would be able to genuinely “claim” my objective and instead would play to contest while securely claiming his own. Certainly, he had the Deep Strike potential to do so.

(I really need to find names for my Librarians). I deployed one Librarian in the middle and one on my left to help protect the Objective. I was expecting to see a Daemon Prince and friends land somewhere nearby in later turns, and I hoped that one or both would be close enough to make life either extremely difficult or (better yet) extremely short for anyone that showed up uninvited. I’ve struggled with a second Psychic Power for these guys, but I chose “Quickening” in the hopes that Initiative 10 and Force Weapons were enough to stop something as ugly as a Daemon Prince dead in its unholy tracks. It was a gamble, but worth a try. You can see these two tremulous fellows cowering behind cover in the top middle and left center of this photo. You can also see my bright green objective shining out from the top left corner...

My Scouts moved up as far as they could without exposing themselves unnecessarily. Pitmann had spread his forces poignantly to keep me from "scouting" into his backfield early on. As such, I placed units III and IV on my rink flank, with snipers and cloaks on top of a building to menace approaching troops. Both II and III stuck themselves behind cover with a simple mission: stay close to the middle and continue to inch the teleport homers closer to the enemy Objective so at least one group of Terminators could contest. If alive, the Scouts could leg it toward Pitmann’s objective in the improbable hope of claiming or contesting. Telion sat with his Camo-cloaked squad near my Objective with an equally simple mission: stay alive.

The Devestators set up on my extreme right for two reasons: one, to take shots at his vehicles (particularly the Defiler) from the relative safety of a building, with a second eye on his Dread stumbling up my right flank; two, to draw both fire and attention away from my objective on the left.

After a quick motivational speech, the Drop Dread was set to do what he hasn’t quite accomplished in our previous two games -ie: land in the backfield and kill vehicles, perhaps contest if he can stay alive. Here’s to hoping (at some point, he will be getting a Drop Dread Companion, but I’ve yet to put glue to plastic on that one).

While I really like the model, the Whirlwind isn’t my favorite tabletop choice. As such, it really only creaked onto the table because I found myself with about 100pts to burn and no models left to invest them in. I set it up in the middle where I expected it could easily target any of the massed groups of troops coming up the flanks. Failing that, I hoped that it would attract an inordinate amount of enemy fire that might otherwise be directed at more important units.

See you tomorrow for the action.


The Dark Templar said...

I'm quite excited to see how this pans out.

Good luck everyone!

Mordian7th said...

Very cool - both armies look very nice! There's nothing quite like a fully painted battle, that's for sure. Seeing the two armies facing off against one another, you can really see how the Onorevoli are taking some painting queues from the IW. Looks awesome, can't wait to see more!

Max said...

Yeah, really good looking armies, sir! Especially the damage on the drop pod- excellent work.

Grizzled Gamer said...

Hooray, a battle report!
Like all the individual models that you have shown to date, the army as a whole is quite stunning.
I eagerly look forward to seeing you Space Marines in action.

Brian said...

Thanks all. Pitmann and I generally try to emphasize the aesthetic end of this hobby -often to the detriment of our competitive play (well, that's undeniably true for me anyway. Pitmann tends to win quite a few more games than he loses.)- but it's all a bit of fun between old friends.

Thanks also for the compliments on the Onorevoli. After ten years of playing against Pitmann's Iron Warriors, something was bound to rub off.