Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dashofpepper at the Railhead Rumble GT: Game Three

June 10, 2011: Dashofpepper makes the drive the Dallas, TX for the Railhead Rumble GT. I arrived in Dallas, checked into the hotel, picked Hulksmash up from the airport, and headed to the Sheraton to scope out the GT area of A-Kon.

19,200 mostly 16-25 year olds swarming an anime convention…an hour after arriving and pushing our way through dressed up (or undressed) anime fans, we finally discovered that the GT was in the attached Marriott and made our way there to check it out. I’m glad that we did an advance recon, or we would have been extremely late the following morning, which is probably why the GT was an hour late kicking off – others weren’t so fortunate!

I brought my Dark Eldar to the Railhead Rumble. The list is as follows:
Dashofpepper’s Darklight Storm:
HQ: Baron Sathonyx
HQ: Haemonculi with Shattershard and Crucible of Malediction

Troop1: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop2: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop3: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop4: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop5: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop6: 9x Wyches with Haywire Grenades inside a Raider with Torment Grenade Launcher, Grisly Trophies, and Flickerfield

Elite1: 4x Trueborn with 4x Blasters in a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Elite2: 4x Trueborn with 4x Blasters in a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Elite3: 3x Trueborn with 3x Blasters in a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons

Fast Attack1: 3x Beastmasters, 5x Khymerae, 4x Razorwing Flocks

Heavy Support1: Ravager with 3x Dark Lances and Flickerfield
Heavy Support2: Ravager with 3x Dark Lances and Flickerfield
Heavy Support3: Ravager with 3x Dark Lances and Flickerfield

Game Three is against Dakka’s Smitty0305, Brad Smith. All of his Wave Serpents are packing Scatter Lasers, which is a bit scary. We roll off and I win the roll. I elect to deploy and go first.

HQ: Autarch on a Jetbike with Fusion Gun, Banshee Mask, Laser Lance
HQ: Autarch on a Jetbike with Fusion Gun, Banshee Mask, Laser Lance
Troop1: 3x Guardian Jetbikes
Troop2: 3x Guardian Jetbikes
Troop3: 5x Dire Avengers in the Heavy Support Falcon
Troop4: 5x Dire Avengers in Wave Serpent with Scatter Laser
Troop5: 5x Dire Avengers in Wave Serpent with Scatter Laser
Elite1: 5x Fire Dragons in a Wave Serpent with Scatter Lasers
Elite2: 5x Fire Dragons in a Wave Serpent with Scatter Lasers
Elite3: 5x Fire Dragons in a Wave Serpent with Scatter Lasers
Fast1: 5x Shining Spears, Exarch, Withdraw
Heavy1: Fire Prism
Heavy2: Fire Prism
Heavy3: Falcon with Scatter Lasers and Holo Field

Here’s a shot of our table! You can see two of the three objectives on the table; bottom right and top right.

The third objective is smack dab in the middle of the table.

And the right side objective.

Pitched Battle Deployment, so I deploy centrally. There’s a building in the center which is kind of meaningless to me – both of us have the mobility and range to get around or over it to shoot at each other. Getting the initiative seized on is never fun, but its not something you can bank on doing to your opponent. Since he’s got two Autarchs and +2 to reserve rolls, I’m guessing that he’s going to reserve everything to alpha-strike me instead of deploying on the table and letting me have a free pass at his army.

Here’s the rest of the board.

Brad chooses to reserve everything, and doesn’t attempt to seize.

Dashofpepper Turn One:
I appear to have not taken pictures of my first turn, but its brief. I use the mission special rule “Warp Rift” to teleport my beasts across the board into the middle of open terrain – I don’t want to risk dangerous terrain tests near that crater.

All my vehicles flat out 24” across the board. One of the mission objectives is “recon” – to have more units in your enemy deployment zone than they have in yours, so I have two goals in mind. The first is to drop my entire army into his deployment zone when he comes in from reserve, and the second is to try restricting his deployment area. More on that shortly.

Enemy Turn One:
Brad yawns. He’s only had a couple hours of sleep and is lagging hard.

Dashofpepper Turn Two:
My whole army moves flat out again to line…not quite his board edge. My goal is to be close enough to the board edge that wave serpents won’t fit in on the table edge, and far enough away that he’s going to at *least* have to move 12” over me and not be able to fire all weapons. I multi-stack where I can (like with my ravagers) so that if he comes in over there, he’s going to have to flat out to get onto the table. My ravagers have long range fire-power, so I’m trying to direct his deployment towards the center and left of the table.

I’m using the terrain on the table for the same purpose – skimmers moving on 12”+ landing in difficult terrain is a risk, and if he wants to come in over there, I want it to be a rough decision. My beasts move 6” towards the crater. I’d expect him to shoot at my vehicles, but scatter lasers insta-kill anything in that unit, and I’d prefer not losing 5 wound models at a time, or having to expend my invulnerable saves, so I need to get half of them into cover.

My beast unit runs – I get half into cover, and also spread them out along the 12” mark so that he can’t get in there either without moving flat out over me.

Enemy Turn Two:
Brad rolls for reserves and gets EVERYTHING. Every single unit. He moves his vehicles on mostly where I was expecting. The three wave serpents with the pointy sides are the fire dragons. Two flat out, and one squeezes in between a venom and my beast unit. What I *didn’t* anticipate was his jetbikes being able to come in on the table edge and get *massive* multi-assaults against all my vehicles. On the flip side, my entire army has at least 4+ cover saves, and he’ll be needing 6s to hit in close combat.

Here’s the sneaky fire dragon wave serpent that found a hole to fit into. The fire-dragons get out and wave their melta-guns at my ravager.

His Fire Dragons open up on my ravager and explode it. The rest of his shooting from the Falcon and the two wave serpents that didn’t move flat out target my trueborn venoms and either miss or I make cover saves, leaving him with a shaken result on one of them and a weapon-destroyed result on a second.
His bikes assault across the board into my venoms, but score no 6s to hit.

My poor weapon-destroyed venom.

Dashofpepper Turn Three:
My entire army shifts left towards his army. My wych raider moves up and disembarks next to an autarch and three of the jetbikes, with the wyches getting out on one side, and the haemonculi on the other. I plan on throwing a Shattershard onto them and assaulting whatever lives with my wyches.

My beasts 2D6 trying to get out of cover to threaten his fire dragons and wave serpent while my trueborn and ravagers line up shots into his flat-out Fire Dragon Serpents. Between the meltas inside and the scatter lasers on the vehicles, I consider these my biggest threat.

On the left flank, my trueborn venom and two warrior venoms shift 6” to line up blaster shots on the vehicles that didn’t move flat out.

I open fire!

In midfield, my disembarked blasters explode the nearest transport, spilling out fire dragons. I’ve got a total of 96 splinter cannon shots, and I melt the fire dragons and four of the five shining spears. Ignore the “Land Raider” felt piece; I never cut Wave Serpent sized templates.

Both of my remaining ravagers whiff against his other Fire Dragon serpent, as does the nearest trueborn venom – his 4+ cover needs no Fortune.

One of my warrior venoms scores a weapon-destroyed on one of the wave serpents in the rear, and I take off the scatter laser.

My other trueborn unit fires into the wave serpent that the fire dragons disembarked from. STR8 vs. AV10, and I get not a single glance or penetrate. I drop a single splinter cannon into the Fire dragons to try softening them up – I don’t want them completely dying because I want a pain token from them.

The haemonculi shattershard kills the Autarch from the unit he’s near along with one jetbike, and I splinter cannon his other unit, killing two jetbikes, leaving one along with the Autarch. I’m planning on a multi-assault with the beasts into the transport, fire-dragons, and bikes, and the wyches into the other unit that is now Autarch-less.

Instead, he rolls for leadership and both bike units fail and run off the table. At least his dice rolls are consistent in rolling 5s and 6s!

My wyches are left with nothing to assault, and the beasts assault into the wave serpent and fire dragons. I assault in so that I’ve got the beastmasters and a Khymerae in the fire dragons, and the other four Khymerae and four razorwing flocks going into his wave serpent.

My khymerae are initiative six and get two glances. One of them rolls a six and immobilizes the wave serpent. That means my Razorwing flocks at Initiative five autohit with their attacks, and I rend and explode it. The explosion kills a beastmaster and puts two wounds on a razorwing flock.

Enemy Turn Three:
Brad’s Fire Prisms shift 12” up the field towards my deployment zone, landing one in terrain. One of his wave serpents moves up with it, while the two in the back corner stay there since they have optimal shots from that perspective – moving up the table would put them behind the ruins without good LOS to any targets.

Meanwhile, the other fire dragon transport moves into my midst and disembarks fire dragons next to my trueborn venom.

In midfield, his remaining shining spear moves 12” towards my shaken trueborn venom.

His fire dragons open up on my true-born venom…and between his shooting and my flickerfield, he gets a glance and a penetrate through, causing a weapon destroyed and immobilizing it. METAL BAWKS SKIMMAH!

His two fire prisms twin-link onto the center trueborn venom. They immobilize it and wipe out the trueborn in cover, who all fail their saves.

His shining spear laser lances the venom, but misses, while the corner falcon and wave serpent both shoot at my other trueborn venom, immobilizing it.

Shining Spear assaults and…..weapon destroyed.

Dashofpepper Turn Four:
The trueborn get out of their weaponless immobilized venom and 2D6 into cover to get in range of one of his wave serpents. Meanwhile, Baron Sathonyx gets tired of the smell of Razorwing Poo and detaches to jump 12” forward next to the fire dragons. I want the beasts to get a 12” charge to surround that empty wave serpent and get extra movement towards the table corner where his falcon and other serpent are.

Here’s a closer shot of that Beastly action. Those are LOTR Wargs with Tyranid Scything Talons. I picked up quite a few compliments on them.

Meanwhile, my other trueborn unit disembark from their now immobilized venom and hoof it towards the nearest enemy vehicle and cover. My wyches re-embark and the raider moves up 12” while the rest of my army that is still mobile continues to close distance across the table, sticking in his deployment zone as much as possible. Those two venoms in the top left are moseying around to get clear shots at his falcon.

Ewww…blurry, I’m sorry. The troop venoms that were holding the objective in the bottom right flat out to midfield and hide behind terrain.

I open fire!

One of my ravagers shakes a fire prism, while the other shakes and weapon-destroys the Wave Serpent in the open.

I plink shots off of his Falcon with the two warrior squads toting blasters in the corner and stun it.

Four trueborn, a raider dark lance, a warrior with a blaster, and a kitchen sink later, I’ve shaken the wave serpent my beasts are looming around. Hitting on 6s and trying to rend with 6s isn’t very reliable – I’d rather kill it with shooting. I drop one venom into his fire dragons and kill three of them and stop – I want the Baron to assault them for a pain token. The other splinter cannons mulch his last shining spear.

I assault his Wave Serpent with my beasts and the fire dragons with my Baron. The Baron kills one Fire Dragon and suffers nothing in return – they break and the Baron catches them. Again, the beasts immobilize the wave serpent at I6, then explode it at I5.

The beasts consolidate out of the wreckage of the last vehicle to be in the open for as much movement they can get in the next turn. To be honest, I totally forgot about Warp Rift after the first turn.

Enemy Turn Four:
The wave serpent in the falcon jumps out of the corner and moves 12” up towards midfield. The shaken Fire Prism moves flat out into the table corner of my left deployment zone.

His wave serpent that can fire opens up on my trueborn and they go to ground, passing all four of their cover saves. The Fire Prism that can fire shoots at the same venom as the previous turn, but scatters off.

Dashofpepper Turn Five:
Here’s a shot of most of my army at the start of my turn.

The two venoms that had moved flat out to mid-field move flat out back to the objective in the corner, both within 3” of the objective – he can’t get both of them.

My wych raider moves flat out up the table towards the other objective that he’s camping on, while my beasts move towards the Falcon that was stunned. Baron Sathonyx hops over there too.

Ravagers line up for some shots at him.

I open up and wreck the wave serpent in the corner and the dire avengers spill out. All the shots into the Fire Prisms fail.

The beasts fleet and assault 12” into the Falcon along with the Baron – I wreck it! I encourage him to try emergency disembarking, but he just takes the unit off the field.

Enemy Turn Five:
His dire avengers move up towards the objective, the Fire Prism in cover sits still, and the other one moves flat out along my deployment zone – I had shaken it in the previous turn.

Dashofpepper Turn Six:
In the top right corner, my two venoms both disembark troops onto the objective. In midfield, one of my troop venoms moves up to the objective in midfield, disembarks, and runs onto the objective.

My wych raider moves up 12” towards the corner objective he’s camping out in
Splinter Cannons take down three of the five dire avengers in the corner, and my wyches assault into the Fire Prism and kill it. They didn’t make it far enough to multi-assault into the Dire Avengers.

The Fire Prism that moved flat out gets shot down by ravagers.
Everything that was still mobile moves firmly into his deployment zone. I disembarked my troop choices onto the objectives because the mission rules note that if an embarked unit is holding an objective, the transport doesn’t count towards holding the table quarter, and neither does the unit holding the objective – so I have to disembark to both hold the objective and count the transport towards the table quarter.

Enemy Turn Six:
The last two dire avengers on the board use Warp Rift to jump onto and contest the rear right objective.
The game ends on turn six; I’ve got two objectives with one contested, table quarters, and I have more units in his deployment zone than he has in mine, so I pick up the win.

Post-Game Tactical Assessment
I used to run a wych cult, and haven’t attempted to line a board edge in a long time. Venoms obviously can’t quite do the trick. I think that Brad shouldn’t have reserved. Getting alpha-struck sucks…but my alpha-strike against a fully mechanized list with his kind of mobility isn’t *that* bad - especially if he can sit back on his board edge to avoid the blasters and then return fire worse.