Ahhh, Sweet Victory. How the Onorevoli savor the hard-won moment of glory and triumph...
Well. Perhaps that’s a bit disingenuous.
THE REF: To be fair, the story of the day has to begin with Ref Pitmann himself. It was a mentally and physically challenging week for the Honorable Ref, and this was not his finest moment on the battlefield. And while I would like to laud the Onorevoli cunning and resilience (and there were a few moments of each), I can’t help but feel that a better-rested Iron Warrior general would have given the Onorevoli a bit more trouble for their effort.
LIST: As I mentioned, I was extremely pleased to see Pitmann step outside of his comfort zone with the pedestrianized construction of his list, both because it’s good for regular opponents to do so (and Pitmann has been playing these, and only these, IW for 10 years now…), and because I really struggle with the Rhino-encrusted, Fast-laden force that he usually brings to bear on his unfortunate opponents. It’s nice to play something if not exactly new, at least new-ish and significantly different.
But, at the end of the day, this cost Pitmann significantly. Having grown accustomed to the speed at which his army usually moves, I think he struggled in late turns getting his forces where he needed them. Without Fasts choices and Rhinos, the Iron Warriors wanted to be a few steps ahead of their own movement, which they never quite managed.
If Pitmann had been able to plant a scoring unit on his objective a bit sooner, the game could likely have ended a draw. Instead, we saw a mad scramble as a standard unit of CSM tripped over itself in a vain effort to cover their own objective before the surprisingly quick Turn Five. And indeed, one more turn would have changed the complexion of the game entirely, as the necessary Troops choices would have been in good form by the end of Turn Six, but that’s never a guarantee in the modern game. Alas.
Still, I sincerely believe the Iron Warrior list was/is entirely solid (with one minor, but crucial, exception). With that many hard as nails models on the table, with a Land Rarider and a Defiler and a Dreadnaught and 40 infantry plus 10 terminators plus 3 Oblits etc, the sheer numbers involved meant that I was always going to be focused on sneaking out the victory rather than winning a smash-faced brawl. That’s the Onorevoli way, as they’ve been utterly exhausted by their campaign to extinguish the Iron Warriors.
PLASMA: this is the crucial exception mentioned above. Sure, plasma weapons are Terminator killers, but in two games with 6+ self-inflicted plasma casualties between them, I can’t help but feel that Pitmann will be switching to Melta in future games. Which also leads me to the next point…
THE DICE: Statistical Probability has no place on our table. The Dice Gods were against Pitmann last weekend; there’s no other way to say it. How else can one explain a Fire-Frenzying Chaos Dread accounting for only two humble Scouts at point blank range.
THE HONEST MISTAKE: Pitmann’s confusion about the placement of my objective cost him considerably. It very nearly wasted the first two turns of movement, which had a series of knock-on effects with the rest of his army. Certainly, the Deployment forced him to spread his army out. Once he realized where the objective was actually hiding, however, he needed to fold the redundant half of his army back toward his base, and aggressively pursue my objective with the other half. This way, every piece of the puzzle would still contribute to the plan. As it stands, at least two powerful units (one Berzerker and one Terminator) took my Devestator bait, and thereby took themselves out of the important moments of the game.
Once he realized the error, Pitmann was forced to rely on the vagaries of Deep Strike to get challenging units close to my objective, and that simply didn’t work out for him -moreso because he was also forced to respond to my own Deep Striking forces, which would be landing much more accurately than his.
All of the above created a push-me-pull-you feel to the Iron Warrior play last weekend, with units back-tracking and scrambling rather than moving with planned, decisive purpose. Which leads to the recap of the Onorevoli performance…
THE PLAN: I believe that a significant part of the push-me-pull-you dynamic mentioned above stems directly from the Onorevoli plan. Templar has correctly noted in past reports that the Onorevoli seemed to play “reactively” rather than “assertively.” This was not the case for battle number three. The Onorevoli had a distinct plan and stuck with it (with only one useless but perhaps costly digression). As such, the Iron Warriors were largely left reacting to my plan rather than the other way around. This was a refreshing change of circumstance… for me.
The Dread managed to blow some stuff up and also soak up a fair bit of attention that would otherwise have been better spent elsewhere. The Scouts delivered their Teleport Homers to the important parts of the table although a delicate few more inches could have helped tremendously to seal a victory. Telion kept himself alive long enough to claim my objective. In fact, this is the first game that any Scouts survived at all. That's progress. The Librarians ran hopeless but worthwhile interference in my half. The Terminators pressed Pitmann back into his own territory. The Devestators blew up that pesky Defiler (but missed the opportunity to take a decent swing at the Chaos Dread –this is the aforementioned digression from the plan, and a clear symptom of my own target priority issues with those Devs). Only the Whirlwind failed to contribute anything at all and will certainly sit it out the next game.
Although not perfectly, the plan worked.
THE MISSING LINKS: I still need to rethink my Heavy choices –which will largely mean scrapping most of them. I also intend to rethink my policy toward Fast choices –which will mean putting glue to plastic and paint to brush. The Scouts are fragile but aptly fluffy, and I’m going to continue to resists the urge to load up several squads of Tactical Marines in shiny Rhinos simply because it makes compelling strategic sense to do so. At most, I’ll deploy one squad of five, with a Rhino escort, but not a single model more.
The Onorevoli are flirting with Heresy, damn them, there’s little room left for sense and strategy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this rather lengthy series as much as I have, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow for the next installment of Hailed vs. Hated.
p.s. A Gentleman’s Ones made it on to FTW’s Tuesday Top Ten this week (thank you kindly. I am honored), and I’ve noted a significant uptick in activity. Welcome one and all. Today also marks the end of the tenth week of posting. I think it’s off to a good start, and here’s to the next ten.