Monday, May 10, 2010

Guest Post: Roberto Vo5 After Action Report

B. Smoove: Today marks precisely three full months that I’ve been hammering away at this blog. So far. So good. I’m not sure why, exactly, that three months seems to be a relevant benchmark, but it pops up in a number of places here on the internet as important and who am I to stand in the way of groupthink.

Today also marks a first here at A Gentleman’s Ones. Those of you that have been following for a while might remember an early post when I mentioned my oldest friend, Roberto Vo5 (...which isn’t to say that he’s old, though he is just a little older than me, but rather that we’ve known each other since we were very, very small –significantly before this photo was taken, which is from circa 1975, I believe. cough cough).

Failing that, you might remember from this post that he taught me how to paint the heat discoloration on melta weapons while he was up visiting at the New Year.

A few weeks back, Rob fought a tournament at his FLGS, and (with my gentle urging) sent along an After Action Report, as well as an update on his hobby progress. Rob plays Deathwing, which rings my bell for two obvious reasons: one) it is full of Terminators -love it, and two) the Deathwing requires a commander willing to embrace hobby and fluff in a way that the internet would have you believe is utter, raving lunacy. For those two reasons alone, you have my deepest admiration, Rob. So, today we are going to have a read about the tournament, and tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at the Deathwing. Let’s see how they did.

Roberto Vo5: So, we had a tournament here last weekend. I promised myself I'd be ready primarily because without a deadline, I won't paint as much.

And I wasn't ready.

The guys at the store are a pretty cool though and stressed that painting, or even WYSIWYG, is optional. So, I went.

The Deathwing deployed four squads, one Belial, three bikes (with 2 each meltas), one attack bike (also melta), a few devastators, one Land Raider and a dread.

We did three rounds, all kill points, no objectives.

The first encounter was a Pitched Battle scenario against the Imperial Guard. The guard player was entirely mechanized, and started in a corner. He had six (maybe eight?) Chimeras, four Leman Russes and a Vendetta. They were packed bumper to bumper and never moved. I had no idea how to approach this, but I understood that the Deathwing is an up-close-and-personal kind of force and I advanced into the teeth of the Guard. The turned out to be an epic failure. It was the kind of move that would make Zap Branigan proud. Unlike him, though, I was not facing killbots with a preset kill limit. I was slaughtered. Two terminators and four devastators survived at the end of turn six. I had managed to destroy one Leman Russ and a single Chimera. I claimed a mere 305 victory points to his 1700+.

It was a crushing blow to my personal morale. I nearly failed my leadership check and fled the scene. I elected to fall back to the Chinese restaurant next door and regroup. I thought through all codex options, what I could have done to stop the crushing defeat. I did not find many answers in my General Tso's Chicken. I considered that I might be entirely outclassed. Well fed and rested, I elected to give the next rounds my best and see how it played out.

The war boss, a filthy ork loving humie that runs the store, was wise enough to match people up using the victory points from the previous round. And so, I was to go to battle against the Blood Angels.

I was worried. Not only had I been kicked hard, but out there on the interwebs exists so many stories about the uberness of the newest codex. I'd already read so many articles about the extraordinary lameness of the Dark Angel codex that I'd bought into it more than a bit. I went into it tense.

We met in a Spearhead scenario. I won the toss and elected to go first. My devastators found cover, the Land Raider anchored the middle and the Ravenwing set itself to flank. Across from me sat a Blood Angels Land Raider, Baal Predator, two Rhinos and the Sanguinor. The Sanguinor was followed by some sort of 2+ save jump troops, though he wasn't officially allowed to join them. On the first turn, I dumped Belial with the upgraded Terminators (with Apothecary and Standard Bearer) in the Sanguinor's path.

Fortune was with the Deathwing this time around. The Baal died right off, the Sanguinor's followers quickly thereafter. It took several turns to bring down that Land Raider, but it became interested in some Ravenwing bikes and the termies that homed on the biker's teleport homers. I discovered that a dread can live, if you keep him near cover and use him like a big infantry unit rather than a small tank. Limit the amount of incoming fire he can receive, he becomes a money maker.

With some clever, and lucky, maneuvering I was able to get Belial to charge the Sanguinor instead of the other way around. The dice broke my way; Sanguinor was unable to kill anyone (though Belial bought two wounds) before he was brought down.

Thus the honor of the chapter was restored.

The final battle was to be Dawn of War against vanilla Marines. I lost the coin toss, but was allowed to go first. This was a clever move by my worthy opponent. The Land Raider was on the table when his turn came around. Two drop pods fell from orbit, one to each side of my Raider. The first disgorged a dread with multimelta and that was the end of my anchor piece. The other pod disgorged another dread and it went to town on my devastators. Luckily enough they got a shot off and stunned his Vindicator until I could get a bike over there to smoke it. Unfortunately, the Vindicator got off a single shot and decimated Belial's squad. I had been brought low again. I thought I'd lost.

The dice were not so convinced.

A single bike refused to die and my terminators, who had put on a rather disappointed survivability show up to this point, refused to go easily unto that good night as well. My opponent had elected to keep the bulk of his force in reserve, and the dice did not reward him for it. They appeared, just a few each turn, and I was able to take them as they arrived.

The final tally showed a wide margin in victory points, but I felt, and still feel, that I only squeaked by.

Overall, I was pleased. Not only did I not waste time painting a worthless army*, but I had a lot of fun. When I finally made it home, I was exhausted, slightly giddy and looking forward to more...

* I believe now that no codex is bad, though some might be better than others. The game is inherently balanced enough that no one need chase the "best" codex just to rack up some wins.**

** Well, okay, the IG turtle was tough to crack.

B. Smoove: It was a minor revelation to me when I read that a Dread can live through an entire game. Mine rarely make it to turn three. As such, I was really quite interested in the thought that one should use a dread like big infantry rather than small tank. That’s a game-changer for me, and may very well sum up what I’ve been doing wrong with my own. Cheers.

Thank you Rob, for a great report and congratulations on pulling out two victories with a strategically challenging force. You give hope to all of us who would like to drag hobby and fluff onto a competitive table.

Tune in tomorrow for Guest Post part two, when we will take a closer look at Rob’s Deathwing.

(all images used without permission, including the one of Rob and I outside preschool)

p.s. I'm on the left. Rob's on the right.


Grizzled Gamer said...

That is great that you and a long, long time friend are not only still friends, but you share the same hobby.

Snake-Eyes and I have been friends and playing 40K, since we were young men who had just joined the Marine Corps, approximately 17 years...
....but you definitely have us beat.

Oh, and tell your buddy congratulations on going 2-1 with his worthless army* and that I can wait to see it and I can not believe he did not chase the best codex**, a truly horrify course of action.

*I love Deathwing and Dual Wing armies
**I love someone using a codex because he believes it is the one that is right for him or he likes it!!!

Brian said...

Cheers Mags. I consider myself very, very fortunate.

HOTpanda said...

I have a two buddies who are into 40k that I have known and worked with for 9 years going. Talking about are latest project in the hobby comes naturally in our conversations but getting together for a game has to be one the most difficult things in the world. Sounded like you two had a blast.