Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dashofpepper at the Railhead Rumble GT: Game Seven

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 4x 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 Seven pits me against John Connelly’s Chaos Marines. I met John and his son Kevin at the Alamo GT and enjoyed their company; John is planning on starting Dark Eldar and just acquired his army; we had a good chat about Dark Eldar, and he’s a very nice guy – I had been hoping to get a chance to play him.
I don’t have John’s army list, so doing my best to recreate it from memory.

HQ: Daemon Prince with Lash
HQ: Daemon Prince with Lash

Troop1: 7-9 Plague Marines with Special Weapons in a rhino with a Havoc Launcher
Troop2: 7-9 Plague Marines with Special Weapons in a rhino with a Havoc Launcher
Troop3: 8-10 Chaos Marines with Special Weapons in a rhino with a Havoc Launcher
Troop4: 8-10 Chaos Marines with Special Weapons in a rhino with a Havoc Launcher

Heavy1: 3x Obliterators
Heavy2: 3x Obliterators
Heavy3: 3x Obliterators

This mission is Pitched Battle, Capture and Control, with a secondary objective to reduce all enemy units to half-strength or less, with a bonus objective to kill four nominated Heavy, Fast, and Elite units.
We roll for deployment option and I win – I place my objective in my bottom left in cover, and he places his in the top right.

My deployment, and a shot of the board:
Rearing to go!
John deploys two obliterator units in the corner.
Cities Of Death, Terrain
All three obliterator units go over there.
Over on the right side of the board, he drops two rhinos – one with plague marines, the other with Chaos Marines.
The two daemon princes and other two rhinos go into reserves.
John tells me after the game that his deployment was a test of my Dark Eldar tactica. He put his objective on the opposite end of the board to my own objective, then deployed on the opposite end of the board from his objective. He said that he’s used to seeing opponents go for his objective, letting his obliterators have free reign to shoot the crap out of things.

As the following sequence will show, I stand by my tactica about ignoring mission objectives and dealing with threats. J
John rolls to seize and doesn’t get it.

Dashofpepper Turn One:
My entire army sweeps 12” to the top left towards his obliterators. Three of the venoms that started on the far left disembark their troops since they should be close enough to get a blaster out.
The pieces of my army that couldn’t sweep towards the obliterators try lining up shots against his other obliterator unit while my beasts move forward.

On the left side, triple ravagers, a wych dark lance, a few blasters, and lots of splinter cannon fire take down five obliterators. He made a *lot* of saves. I think he lost one obliterator to a dark lance (failed cover), and it took my splinter cannons to do the rest.
The other obliterator unit escapes unscathed from the splinter cannons on the far side of the board.
Enemy Turn One:
The two rhinos sneak around the corner of the building in the corner to toss havoc launchers at me.


Havoc Launchers on the right shake and immobilize a venom.
On the left, obliterators shake and immobilize one of my ravagers.
Dashofpepper Turn Two:
My disembarked units re-embark and move up 6”. Initially, I’m thinking to myself that I don’t want any disembarked units on the table when his daemon princes enter from reserves, however, my trueborn venoms are still too far away to move 6” and shoot blasters, so I roll up 12” and disembark. Maybe his DPs won’t come on Turn two.
One of my ravagers breaks off and heads to the right to try offering fire support against the rhinos with the havoc launchers.

Elsewhere on the right, the warriors disembark from the immobilized venom while my trueborn venom moves up 12” to try delivering trueborn into blaster range. My beast unit continues making headway across the board.

On the left, splinter cannons galore, dark lances, and blasters take down the other five obliterators.
On the right, Blasters take down the rhino.
The ravager lights up the other rhino, and gets a stunned and immobilized result.
Splinter cannons from midfield and the disembarked trueborn venom start whittling away at the plague marines.
Enemy Turn Two:
Both Daemon Princes come in, along with the other plague marine rhino. The rhino rolls on and smokes, while the daemon princes wing their way on 12” and look for tasty things to lash.
On the right, the disembarked plague marines break from cover and start running towards…the battle. Or certain death. Either way, they’re serving Papa Nurgle.

On the left, he lashes my trueborn towards himself. You can see him checking range from the other daemon prince to one of my venoms.
Assaults! One daemon prince wipes out my trueborn while the other daemon prince wrecks the venom he assaulted. The 6 marker on the troops is a pain token – they wiped out one of the obliterator units.
Dashofpepper Turn Three:
I line up for retaliation. My ravagers are ready to shoot at either the rhino or the daemon princes, depending on whether the rest of my army gets the job done.
On the right, my trueborn re-embark and shift an inch or two backwards while the ravager moves up to be able to shoot around cover into the plague marines. STR8 AP2 is a good way to deal with T5 Power Armour with Feel No Pain. The beasts continue to make their best time towards the enemy deployment zone.
My haemonculi pops his Crucible of Malediction! I positioned the wych raider so that both DPs would be in range of the Torment Grenade Launcher and suffer -1LD. They both pass. *sigh* That’s a worthless piece of wargear, it NEVER kills anything.

Fortunately, I have a metric crapton of splinter weaponry, blasters and dark lances on standby in case he failed. Both Daemon Princes go down under a hail of fire.
I focused splinter cannons on the DPs first, so have lances and blasters left over to wreck his plague marine rhino and kill a bunch of the plague marines inside.
On the right, I introduce blasters and dark lances at point blank range without cover to the other plague marines. They also die.
Enemy Turn Three:
The Chaos Marines are in an immobilized rhino and not doing any good, so they disembark and rush towards my beasts for a pyrrhic victory.
Havoc Launcher from the no-longer-stunned rhino causes a “Weapon Destroyed” result on a trueborn venom. I’m pretty sure that every shot he rolled with them during the whole game (not many) always got a result.
On the left, his reduced plague marines multi-assault a venom and my warriors – he’s hoping to stay locked in combat for a turn.
Instead, he wipes my unit out, wrecks the venom, and the unit inside fails pinning, leaving him exposed to counter-fire the next turn.
On the right, Chaos Undivided assaults into Baron Sathonyx’ beasts.
Between defensive grenades, I6 attacks and I5 attacks, Chaos Undivided is killed to the last man before they get a chance to swing.
At the end of Turn Three, John concedes. He has three plague marines and an empty immobilized rhino left on the board, with one rhino of Chaos undivided still in reserve, while I’ve got most of my army, and three turns left to kill what he has left.

Post-Game Tactical Assessment:
John and I talked about the game afterwards; the game only took about 45 minutes. I was a bit surprised that he said that opponents usually ignore the obliterators and go for the objective; he said that he was testing my tactica, and I hope I passed! Hopefully if I see him at Wargamescon, he’ll be sporting a shiny new Dark Eldar army!

I think reserving was probably a mistake – he fed himself to me piecemeal for no particular gain. If he had clustered up and defended his obliterators, I wouldn’t have been able to rush them and kill them as quickly as I did. In fact, I probably would have deployed with obliterators in cover with rhinos screening them from LOS so that they couldn’t be shot at all. In his shoes, I’d be happy to trade long range splinter cannons and dark lances with obliterators and havoc launchers. Three units of Obliterators into three ravagers, and then it’s a fairly short range game aside from the splinter cannons – so the Daemon Princes would need to get out and try pulling fire away from the obliterators and protecting his firebase.

I think that I would have probably moved those rhinos on the right up 12” and smoked the first turn instead of firing havocs – lucky rolling can apparently take down a squad of chaos marines with the beasts, but I wouldn’t put money on them being able to take on plague marines AND Chaos marines at the same time.
Game Seven ends the GT, and we start counting up scores. I’ve got max sportsmanship. Hulksmash and his opponent tied their game down the middle, so I’m ahead on battle points – a lead that will widen when they apply their formula of BP x 3.45 to get 70% battle points. I should end up winning Best Overall!
As it turns out, there were votes for “Favorite Opponent” that also counted extra points towards sportsmanship, and Hulksmash’ opponent got six votes, and six extra points into sportsmanship. Combined with the +4 points of painting score he had on me, it outdid my battle point lead, and gave him Best Overall while I 2nd Overall and Best General.

Overall notes: It was a fun GT.
On the plus side, the GT organizers have a *really* good thing going on. Good tables, pretty good terrain, their own missions that are unique (if a bit wonky and biased towards already powerful armies). The format could use a bit of tweaking to make it a GT experience instead of two back to back RTTs, and if they start advertising, I have no doubt that they’ll fill out their capacity and beyond.

Now to recharge my batteries, camera, get the new Venoms painted and ready for Wargamescon!