Tuesday, May 11, 2010

At War with the Red Army: 3 Battles with the Blood Angels

Last weekend I had the opportunity to play 3 games against the new Blood Angels. I had been invited to 8 on the 8th, a mini-tournament of 8 players brought together for some dicing and some play-testing of the missions for the up-coming Vegas GT qualifier, The NOVA Open. From what I experienced last year with the SGI Outdoor Tournament (from the same gaming club) and this little event, the NOVA Open is really shaping up to be something you can't miss. So if you're interested in lots of gaming, great prizes and even trophies to show off to your friends, you better sign up. Old Shatter Hands will be there with his Cadre to make sure the Tau Empire gets its glory!

Since my last post I'd tweaked my list slightly as I managed to get Target Locks on my two commanders and the XV88 Team Leader. These little pieces of kit really became valuable in 2 of the 3 games, more on that later. So here's the 2,000  point list. I hope reading it doesn't bore you to death that you don't make it to actual meat of this post. 

Fire Team - 6 Fire Warriors in Devilfish, 'Tracker, Pod
Fire Team - 6 Fire Warriors in Devilfish, 'Tracker, Pod
Carnivore Squad - 10 Kroot, 5 Kroot Hounds

Crisis Team 1
Shas'ui with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, 'Tracker
Shas'Ui with Fusion Blaster, Missile Pod, 'Tracker
Shas' Team Leader with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Array and Hard-Wired 'Tracker
2 Gun Drones

Crisis Team 2
Shas' Team Leader with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Array and Hard-Wired 'Tracker
2 Shield Drones
2 Shas'Ui with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, 'Trackers

Shas'El Commander with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Array and Hard-Wired 'Tracker, Hard-Wired 'Lock
Shas'El Commander with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Array and Hard-Wired 'Tracker, Hard-Wired 'Lock

Fast Attack
2 Piranhas with Fusion Blasters, Arrays and Pods
8 Pathfinders with Shas'Ui and Devilfish, 'Tracker, Pod

Heavy Support
1 Hammerhead with Railgun, Smart Missiles, Pod and 'Tracker
1 Hammerhead with Ion Cannon, Burst Cannons, Pod and 'Tracker
3 Broadside with Arrays, One upgraded to Team Leader with Hard-Wired 'Lock and 2 Shield Drones

Game 1 - When Mephiston comes a knockin'...
As you can see in the picture below, Mark Ferek's army featured a good amount of infantry, Assault Marines in both Rhinos and with Jump Packs, and Sternguard, all supported by a large contingent of Space Marine Predators. As if that weren't enough, Mephiston felt it necessary to personally accompany the Assault Force to battle. 
 Maybe because it was early or it might have the jitters from facing the Blood Angels for the first time, I made a few mistakes in this game that cost me dearly. The Blood Angels moved out to methodically deconstruct my army piece by piece until it was annihilated. 

You can see how he deployed above. The majority of his army is centrally located, packed together with his troops in Rhino APCs behind his AV 13 Predators. The right flank is occupied by another Baal Predator (with only an assault cannon no heavy bolters) and the Sternguard are taking positions in cover. Mark may not have realized it but this position acted as a lure for me. I deployed nearly my entire army directly across from the Sternguard and his Baal Predator. I foolishly thought I would move out to destroy it and move onto the next targets. It proved a major military blunder for the Tau Empire. It was foolish as Mark was able to swing his whole are in and lock my in a position where all he had to do was close the noose and my army would be wrecked. Click on the diagram below to get an idea of what happened.

You can see that I should have set up on the other flank and attacked from that angle. Mark was able to get into a position where all of his predators had their front armor facing my army. He also had the speed to close a noose around my army and slaughter it. He had a good mix of long range fire and meltaguns to wreck my vehicles. Mephiston was a beast! Without any psychic protection, he was able to cast all of his powers each tunr, giving him a jump pack, Strength 10 and preferred enemy. Nothing could even hold out against him one turn. By the end of turn 7, my army was nothing but smoldering wrecks and bloodied corpses. 

 It was solid plan and I learned a lot from it that would come in handy in the next games. Most importantly I learned that I am going to have to be more careful with my deployment. Against the Blood Angels, I don't have the speed to re-adjust like I might against other armies. I also learned that the army I brought does not have enough high strength weapons to knock out AV 13 vehicles and that the key to winning against multiple Predators. Space Marine Tanks are built for frontal attacks and are vulnerable to flanking. If I am to face that many tanks again, I will need a cunning ploy to expose side armor. This would become crucial in game 3 as we will see. For the organizers take on the battle go to Whiskey and 40k


Mike Brandt; mvbrandt@gmail said...

Thanks for the props and attending, Tim - it was great having you there, and I think your readers will enjoy the retelling of your more successful 2nd and 3rd rounds.

To anyone reading Tim's blog - let me know via e-mail that you've registered for the Open after hearing a reference from Tim ... you won't regret it when you pick up your swag bags!

suneokun said...

For a red army ... they're not very, well, red.

Nice summary, can't wait to hear the retake in round 2&3.

Kroxitau said...

Mephiston is a monster.

From deployment you are right, I always try to set up in a way that I have to fight the least amount of the other army with the most amount of mine (if the mission lets me). Setting up on the left meant you were going after the lone units but would be trapped on a small piece of the table by the remaining force, setting up on the far right would have meant those lone units would take a while to get to you (well, not the fast baal)

How did the Ion cannon treat ya?

How much shooting did you allocate towards Mephiston?

How come no bonding knives on the Crisis suit teams? (drones are part of unit numbers total so on a team of 3 suits and 2 drones, if you lose 2 drones and a suit they can't regroup due to be below half with out a bonding knife)

How did the pathfinders do?


Cobalt Cannon said...

I agree with you on the strategy of moving your force up his left flank. That tight box of tanks would have been an excellent opportunity for you. Knock out a lead tank and one on his left, and you've managed to create a road block for him to have to maneuver the rest of his tanks around. Also, that Baal Predator would have to travel much farther to get to you.
Your position on his left flank would have provided you with an additional advantage from the structures in the mid field. He would have to travel through the firing lanes in between the buildings to get to you.

What are you thinking of changing in your force to deal with the armor? Return of the Death Rains?

Sholto said...

It was a good list, although at 2000 points I would take a 3rd unit of Crisis suits.

You know you got deployment wrong, but what was your target priority in this game?

I would have gone for the Rhinos first. I would have risked the jump pack marines reaching my lines, but the Kroot are there for just that job. Once the Rhinos are down, I would have gone for the jump pack marines and then mopped up the footsloggers. The tanks are annoying, but can only target one unit per Turn per squadron, and will be gunning for your melta piranhas early game anyway.