[The Von Report] My Shame, Let Me Show You It

Game Three vs. Richard’s Ravenwing

    HQ – Sammael on jetbike
    Troops – 6 Bikers, 2 plasma guns, melta bombs on the Sergeant
    Troops – 6 Bikers, 2 plasma guns, melta bombs on the Sergeant

Every so often, particularly in small games, one comes up against the rock to one’s scissors, the rubber to one’s glue, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to one’s Technodrome. The Ravenwing may well be mine. Richard had as many Troops as I did – a mere 12 models – but his were faster, tougher, better in a fight, zipped through terrain like it wasn’t there and, on top of everything else, they had better guns than me.

This wasn’t going to go well.


Mission – The Emperor’s Will
Deployment – Hammer and Anvil
Warlord Traits – Koschei the Deathless (Outflank!), Company Master Sammael (Night Fighting)

Terrain

Some sort of Imperial chapel structure in the middle, some trees juuust far enough from my board edge for me not to be able to hide in them, a ruined building in each deployment zone (my right corner, Richard’s left) and a lot of stuff the Ravenwing didn’t care about.

My objective was in the trees near my deployment zone, Richard’s was out in the open just up from the ruins.

Deployment

I set up the Ghost Ark right next to the building in my deployment zone, with half a dozen Necrons in it, and the Crypteks next to it, ready to boot the Warriors out of their ride and form the Gunboat O’Doom. Lacking anywhere safe to deploy, the footslogging Warriors stayed off the board, and Koschei made ready to Outflank, since he could.

Richard set up a wedge of all twelve bikes, with Sammael in the middle attached to one squad, right on top of his objective. Then he Scouted them all six inches down the board, past the objective.

Initiative – remained firmly with the Dark Angels

Did you know Matt Farrer was on WordPress?
I didn’t. That made me a sad ‘cron.

Round One

Everything Richard had drove up. Everything Richard had shot at the poor Crypteks, and while one biker fried himself with a plasma misfire, I didn’t pass a single save or Reanimation Protocols roll., and all the poor Crypteks died. That was interesting.

I sent the Ghost Ark drifting around the building, keeping its bottom pointed away from the bikers, and everything on the back shot at the bike squad that didn’t have Sammael in it (they’re the ones who’d taken a casualty). Alas, Richard is better at passing armour saves than I am, so I don’t think any of them died… I may have got one?

Round Two

Everything Richard had assaulted the Ghost Ark, to spare themselves further plasma-related embarrassments. That many melta bombs and krak grenades, plus the hits assigning to the rear armour, meant that I didn’t have a Ghost Ark any more, and barely had enough room to put the Warriors down.

Koschei turned up on the left hand side and sped behind the building in Richard’s deployment zone. The footslogging Warriors also marched on from my board edge, moving up beside the building in my deployment zone. All the surviving Necrons shot at Sammael’s squad, leaving him with one faithful Biker Sergeant in attendance. That was pretty good!

Round Three

Richard split the difference this turn, sending Sammael’s squad into the new Warriors and the other squad into the first lot. A couple of Necrons were downed by shooting, and I seem to recall another Dark Angel overheating before the assaults went in. The Necron snap fire was… well, devastating isn’t the word for it. I’ve never rolled so many sixes in my life, not even when I try to cast Purple Sun of Xereus. Nevertheless, Sammael was able to carve up the Necrons he was fighting, although the squad without his guidance didn’t quite manage to finish their opponents off. Then the nasty Ravenwings did a Hit and Run and drove away from the Necrons, although not quite as far as Richard wanted (seven inches on three dice, I think?).

Lacking any real sense of what to do other than chase the Slay the Warlord point, Koschei drove his chariot around and shot at Sammael’s squad, not terribly effectively, while the rest of the Warriors fired wildly after the retreating Ravenwing they’d been in combat with last turn.

Round Four

The larger of the Ravenwing squads made a beeline for my objective, while the lone Sergeant went hunting for the last three Necron Warriors. Meanwhile, Sammael left his bodyguard so he could go and shoot at Koschei’s command barge, achieving little, and then plough into it in melee. At the end of the phase Koschei had taken a wound (thank the Triarch for Toughness 5, eh?) and I only had two Necron Warriors left. This really wasn’t going well.

Koschei drove his chariot over Sammael’s head, whacked him twice with the Warscythe, shot him ineffectively with his Tesla cannon, then charged him in the back, hoping to nobble him with Hammer of Wrath. Alas, it was not to be, and Sammael didn’t waste much time in chopping Koschei’s sempiternal weave right open (curse the C’tan for Initiative 2, eh?).

“They call me the Flying Bastard.
This is my Flying Bastard Squad.”

Needless to say, the last two Necrons didn’t manage to do much to the lone Sergeant.

Round Five

While the Dark Angels did victory wheelies around the objectives and the Sergeant killed the last of the Necron Warriors (do you know, I passed ONE Reanimation Protocols roll in this game. ONE.), Koschei’s Command Barge turned its gun on Sammael and hoped against hope that it could Tesla his last wound off. Three hits later (I love Tesla) Sammael was down and I’d at least managed to score a Victory Point from this shambles.

Round Six

The lone Sergeant from Sammael’s squad, not content with his Warrior-killing spree, motored into the damaged Command Barge. Cheerfully slamming a melta bomb into its innards, he proceeded to do wheelies on the burning hulk before consolidating onto Richard’s objective and completing a near-flawless 9-1 tabling.

Woe to the Dynasty of Kadavah… and then some.

Post-Mortem

In the event of a rematch, I think I’d be tempted to put absolutely everything in reserve, just to hide from that rather obnoxious alpha strike. Richard pointed out (several times) that he likes his opponents to move onto the board in dribs and drabs, and I pointed out (several times) that whenever I’ve put stuff on the board without terrain to hide in and a clear plan for it in Turn One, it’s just stood there and gotten shot and given away VPs for no adequately explored reason.

I think this was one for the Bad Match-Ups book, though. Richard’s lack of numbers didn’t matter so much when his thirteen blokes were so tough and mobile and potent, and while he couldn’t hack the Ghost Ark with shooting, he had the speed to catch it in combat and ram the grenades into its engines. Contrariwise, my usual way of dodging my lack of numbers (hiding vulnerable shooty chaps in the Ark and staying on the outer edge of range bands until it’s claimin’ time) really falls down against something that can cover so much ground so fast and hit the Crypteks before they can take over the Warrior’s ride (the Ark is only available as a Dedicated Transport for them, y’see, so the Crypteks can’t start the game aboard it).

It’s definitely making me think twice about the next 300 points. I’m reminded of the ancient Ork player’s maxim – “boyz before toyz” and thinking that my 900 point list needs to slap some more bodies down on the board, presenting the weight of numbers to actually take the sustained shoot-assault-hitandrun-repeat damage and still put out some attacks.

Those Chaos Cultists are really starting to look tempting. I’d pull the Destroyers (S5, AP3, Preferred Enemy, bye-bye bike-boys) in from my ‘proper’ army but that sort of defies the point of the league (painting and using new stuff). No, I’ll have to settle for being a dirty beardy cheesy background-trashing sixth-edition-bandwagon-jumper with no discernible soul and taking some Allies.

As to the why and wherefore and how to justify it, well, keep watching GAME OVER this weekend…

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