2015-01-11

Back at LoG

You know you're having a bad day when you wake up and the first thing you see is a Raider down the street coming at you.

After years of absence from the League of Gentlemen, an uber-secretive gaming club in the heart of Z├╝rich, I finally went to their gaming lair again for a game against nu55kill's Dark Eldar. My yearlong absence simply can be explained with my 40K abstinence while playing WM/H instead, which isn't really the LoG's game, but I always enjoyed playing with those guys.
Nu55skill also happens to be the captain of Switzerland's 40K team, so I was kinda nervous about both facing an excellent army paired with an excellent player.

My Blood Angels at 2'000pts - pretty comparable to what I played in the final stretches of 5th edition when I last played nu55skill. I also started to paint the Stormraven in 2011, but never finished it because of Warmachine.

nu55kill's Dark Eldar at 2'000pts.

Obviously, nu55kill is awesome at painting battle damage and freehand patterns.

When we rolled for the Maelstrom mission, we got the one where you can only draw one Maelstrom mission card for every mission objective (MO) you're currently holding. This proved to be crucial to the progress of the game.

This is how I set up. I deployed everything knowing that from the DE pretty much everything will arrive from reserve. I tried to stay as compact as possible while still occupying MOs early.

nu55kill had his Jetbikes and monstrous creature (MC) deployed behind buildings giving me no LOS to them.

On my turn 1 I tried to occupy the center and stay compact there so I could quickly react to whatever location he was going to deepstrike to. My Furioso, the Baal Predator, the two Tactical squads (TS) and way in the back...

...my Land Speeder flying up the left flank behind the ruin occupied a total of 5 MOs, meaning I could draw five cards on my turn 2.

On nu55kill's turn 1, nothing really happened because he had to wait for his reserves on turn 2, so he just used the existing ones to move and shoot a little.
On my turn 2, the Assault Squad (AS) moved ahead into the center of the DE deployment zone and took the MO there for a total of 6 MOs.

At the end of my turn 2, I had 4 victory points (VP) with nu55kill sitting at none.

Because of his warlord trait that gave him the necessary rerolls, everything else the DE had arrived on nu55kill's turn 2. This Raider dropped close to the Death Company...

...this one close to my TS on the left...

...this one had a DS mishap and I placed him way back in the left corner...

...and this one deviated into the front of the ruin where my Furioso was sitting in on the right flank. On the DE's table edge, the DE warlord and his band walked in right into the front of the AS's noses.

Last but not least, the Voidraven Bomber also appeared on the left flank.

The DE shooting phase turned out to be brutal for the AS, but they actually did quite well with their 3+ armor save...

...and stood their ground in close combat (CC) with the Jetbikes. nu55kill still had no VP if I recall it correctly.

On my turn 3, I managed to bring down the raider and the Warriors had to disembark, but they did at the back (within three inches of the hull) and my Death Company (DC) was not able to charge them although the DC saved their Jump Packs (JP) for the charge. I needed 11", but rolled a 9 twice.

The AS killed off the Jetbikes and scored this MO for another and final time.

With my turn 3 over, I had a total of 8 VP while nu55kill still had none or one...

...and a view of the battlefield still showed me sitting on five MO with the storm of the DE right at my front door. Will turn 3, 4 and 5 be enough for nu55kill to turn the game, though?

The Incubi unloaded on my TS to the very left.

The Bomber aimed at my remaining Baal Predator, but failed to do any damage.

The AS was finally wiped out by the warlord and his gang...

...while this Raider tried to bypass the Furioso.

The DC payed a bitter price for not making that charge on my turn. Though they did ok with their armor and Feel No Pain (FNP) saves, they were down to two men by the end of the turn because nu55kill pumped all his firing capacities into this squad. The DC was all but gone and still hadn't done anything throughout the entire game, although they were right in the center of the table - which turned out to only be better for the DE's shooting.

Mephiston and his TS at the center of my deployment zone also had an unwelcome Raider approaching.

At the end of the DE's turn 3, the battlefield had remarkably changed. My MO on my left flank (upper left corner) was lost, Mephiston (table edge center left, right next to the psychic cards) had one turn until he'll be hit as well, the Raider bypassing the Furioso ended up challenging the Ball predator for his MO and the center with the DC was all but totally lost. My biggest asset right now was my Stormraven that flew unchallenged after the bomber left the battle field. (good eyes will notice the bomber is still on the field near the DE table edge with his nose facing outwards; that counted as having left the table for the purpose of our game)

On my turn 4, the Baal predator backed away from the MO to fire at the Warriors and to hopefully prevent them from charging and taking advantage of its weak rear armor.

The DC proved to be a major threat still with only two men left. Their charge finally connected, they won the CC, the DE failed their Ld throw, and because of Lemartes' high initiative got wiped out from the table.

On the DE turn 4, this unit of Warriors previously shot at by my Ball Predator (see two pictures above) moved away from the MO and right into the center of the right flank. I don't remember why nu55kill did this, but I believe the reason was to avoid having the Baal's heavy flamer sponsons on this unit on my turn 5.

Nasty things happened to the DC...

...and to Mephiston...

...and his TS...

...until only a single Marine from that TS was left.

On my turn, my Stormraven reappeared again after it left the table on turn 4...

...and finally managed to shoot down the Bomber with its twinlinked Multimelta.

Because I had a matching card ("score 1 if you kill one flyer") this finally brought me up to 10 VP.

At the end of my turn 5, the Furioso also mopped up the Warriors fleeing from the Baal Predator's Assault Canon fire.

On the DE's turn 5, nu55kill didn't really do any damage other than taking one HP off my Baal Predator. However, he moved his fast flyers and with my army all but gone and could now easily sit on the derelict MO and draw mission cards while I effectively didn't get to draw any anymore. Also, nu55kill went up from 1 to 7 VP, yet had the game ended on turn 5, I'd still have won. However, the dice said that we were going to play also turn 6 and 7.

My two last turns didn't really see me do anything other than flying around with my Stormraven and successfully performing jink saves in order not to be tabled (which would make nu55kill automatically win the game).

My last moment of glory was when the Baal Predator rolled back again and unloaded both his Heavy Flamers on the Incubi - that felt very good.
However, the game was lost. On turn 6, nu55kill equalized my score and we had both 10VP. On turn 7 nu55kill drew a mission card giving him D3+3 VP if he controlled *all* MOs by the end of the turn, he had enough fast units left to do so, I wasn't close enough anywhere to challenge, and he rolled a 3 on the D3, giving him 6 VPs on turn 7 alone.

Therefore, the final result was 16 : 10.
Impressions from the game:

It was a blast to play and nu55kill always is a great opponent. Although he is a competitive player, he's forgiving about mistakes and even gives you tactical advise, but he also strikes you hard when the opportunity arises. He is a highly skilled tactician moving everything to his advantage which can be impressively seen in his come back from 1 VP in turn 4 to 16 VP on turn 7.

This game also showed to me that my fears about 7th Edition were pointless and that it turns out to be the best edition for me so far. In previous games I'd have left the game sort of sad with my models all but evaporated, but with the new Maelstrom mechanic I could actually have won the game with a bit of luck. Evidently, this game mechanic creates much closer races between players to the enjoyment of both. (of course, the army also plays a role in this, with Tau and Imperial Guard this game would have been very different)

In terms of units review, I can't help but notice that the Furioso did well again, although everyone and their grandmother say that Dreadnoughts have become pointless. There is certainly truth to that, but with so many regular infantry units stripped to the minimum running around the fields these days, a Furioso can reliably kill them while they have no means to break his AV 13.

The DC happened to be a waste of points, but there I see the mistake mostly with myself since I put them into a bad spot. Nu55kill adviced to reduce their size in the future, but I think for now I am still running a 10 man squad and try to play them better again, just like I did against the daemons. Furthermore, even if they are shot off the table, they soak up much fire that would otherwise hit my other units.

I have mixed feelings on the TS as they just sat on their MO doing nothing, so I am not sure if the glass is half full or half empty. On the one hand, they gave me valuable VP and with the Objective Secured special rule even when the DE were close by, but on the other hand their weapons were ineffective except for one round of shooting Bolters at Raiders - and even then the Bolters didn't do much because I had to roll 6s To Wound and then the Raider's jink saves nullified any wounds I have scored. Evidently, Scouts can sit on MO with a cheaper price tag while the freed up points can be invested in harder hitting or faster moving units. The current 7th Edition clearly is a game that favors fast and cheap standard troop choices, so you wanna bring as many as possible. In 4th edition, everybody only brought the minimal two, now four seems to be the minimum advisable.

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