Relics of Treasure - Week 4

Round 4: 1750
Deployment: Hammer of Wrath

Cam (Imperial Guard)
Company Command Squad w/Master of Ordinance, Master of the Fleet
Platoon Command Squad w/Plasmagun, Commissar
Heavy weapon Team w/3 x Lascannon
Heavy Weapon Team w/3 x Heavy Bolter
5 x Veterans w/3 x Meltagun, Chimera
Infantry Squad w/Plasmagun, Missile Launcher
Infantry Squad w/Plasmagun, Heavy Bolter
Infantrry Squad w/Plasmagun, Heavy Bolter
Leman Russ squadron w/2 x Battle Cannon, 1 x Executioner Plasma Cannon
Aegis Defence Line w/Quad Gun

I was actually getting set to fight someone else, a Grey Knights player, when a couple of late arrivals forced Matt to juggle some opponents around to keep things on the level. Given the choice between Cam, here, and Graham and his Grey Knights, I pretty quickly called dibs on facing off against Cam. I can beat Graham, it's not impossible, but that guy wields his Grey Knights like a surgeon's scalpel, and I wasn't really looking to test myself against the current number one in the league. So, instead, I traded a couple of Stormravens, a Dreadknight and a Vindicare who looks like Deadpool for heavy artillery, a Fast flamer-tank, and a squadron of Leman Russ.

It never rains, but it pours.

Commander w/Iridium Armour, Stimulant Injector, Shield Generator, 2 x Plasma Rifle, PENchip, Relic (+1 WS/BS for squad, Hit and Run)
2 x Bodyguards w/2 x Plasma Rifle, 2 x Twin-Linked Fusion Blaster
XV104 w/Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Stimulant Injector
3 x XV8 w/6 x Missile Pod
3 x XV8 w/6 x Missile Pod
8 x Fire Warriors
8 x Fire Warriors
8 x Fire Warriors
8 x Fire Warriors
4 x Pathfinders
4 x Pathfinders
Hammerhead w/Disruption Pod, Blacksun Filter
Hammerhead w/Longstrike, Disruption Pod, Submunition, 2 x Seeker Missiles
Aegis Defence Line w/Quad Gun

Ironically, I finally got something other than Dawn of War when I finally lost the meaningful range advantage over my opponent. Cam won the roll-off and opted to seize what was, frankly, the better side of the table, with a three-storey ruin and a building with a wide, flat roof and battlements, just perfect for deploying Guard infantry into. He put his Chimera full of Vets, Colossus and Hydra on my left, the PCS and a squad along the Aegis with the Quad Gun and the Hellhound in the middle, the CCS and lascannon heavy weapons team in the ruins with a truly commanding line of sight, and anchored the right flank with his Leman Russ squadron, the Executioner out in front, and the two heavy bolter infantry squads blobbed together on the battlements. In turn, I left my Commander and his bodyguards in deep strike reserve, set a deathrain squad on either side of my lines, put my ionHead on the left and my railHead on the right, and plunked my Riptide, Ethereal with Fire Warrior squad and additional Fire Warrior squads around the middle of the board. With no Night Fight, I rolled to seize, and for the second time in as many games managed to pull it off.

Unfortunately, I largely wasted the accomplishment. I spread my forces out, trying to bring my Fire Warriors into optimal range on Cam's infantry squads, but he was just a little too far back for me to get more than the first rank into range. Longstrike failed to penetrate the Russ' considerable front armour, even with his reroll, while my Riptide failed its Nova charge and then it and the ionHead both sent their blasts scattering uselessly away. The only thing I actually managed was to blow up the Chimera, killing a handful of Vets inside and, at least, scoring me First Blood. It wasn't much, but it would have to do.

Especially since Cam's turn wasn't nearly so ineffectual. His tanks advanced, the Griffin immobilizing itself on the edge of the Aegis line but still inside its considerable range to fire on my left flank, the Hellhound cruising forwards and then moving Flat Out to position itself in the centre of the board, practically on the relic. His Russes trundled forwards, then proceeded to show exactly what real heavy armour was capable of. They dropped blast after blast on my Fire Warriors with Ethereal, and when the smoke finally cleared the squad was gone, and the Ethereal had used every single one of them as meat shields to keep himself alive. One more failed cover save and I'd have been down by a victory point first turn, and lost my LD10 bubble to boot! The Griffon also fired, taking aim at the Fire Warriors on my left flank, who went to ground for the 2+ save from the Aegis; they managed not to lose anyone, but they were stuck there, just waiting for the Griffon to reload and fire again next turn, forcing them to keep riding out the barrages. It was an inauspicious start. And things didn't get any better when Cam pointed out that his Master of the Fleet bumped my Reserve rolls up by one, though given that I insisted on rolling nothing but 1's and 2's to bring my Commander in it hardly mattered. For turns two and three I basically did nothing but ride out Cam's firepower, ultimately losing my Riptide, one of my Deathrain suits and most of the members from all three of my remaining Fire Warrior squads in exchange for managing to kill the remains of the Veteran squad and wreck the Hellhound, ironically after a scattering Leman Russ blast killed most of the Fire Warriors it had been aimed straight at before it got a chance to fire. The only real bright spot was that my Riptide had survived long enough to shepherd my Ethereal to safety, out of sight behind a building and, happily, on top of an objective I'd placed there (though annoyingly it turned out to allow re-rolls of 1's to-hit for the controlling unit, which nobody could make use of because of its position). I also almost lost another deathrain from the left-flank squad to dangerous terrain tests before remembering that my Ethereal passed out FNP 6+, which amazingly I managed to make. Cam was steadily rolling me up, and with Longstrike stubbornly refusing to get so much as a glancing hit (statistically improbable given three straight turns of firing) and my left-flank deathrains incapable of silencing the Griffon, it seemed as though the best I could hope for was to try and keep from being routed too catastrophically. It didn't help that my Riptide and ionHead, despite firing into clumps of infantry for turns 2 and 3, managed to mostly scatter off-target, and the few shots that did hit were shrugged off by cover.

But then, Turn 4 started; my Reserves came on automatically, bringing my Commander to the field. And he changed everything.

The Commander dropped in behind the Leman Russes, exactly as planned, and between four plasma rifles and two twin-linked meltaguns, with Tank Hunters, that so-troublesome squadron simply disappeared. One of the basic Russes and the Executioner exploded, and the third was wrecked on hull points. And apparently, it was that kind of moment of heroism that the rest of my cadre was waiting for, because Longstrike turned to blast the Griffon to pieces and the ionHead killed most of the CCS, including Cam's warlord, while my right-flank deathrains turned the Quad Gun on the Hydra, stripping off a couple hull points, and the left-flank team hopped up on top of the building the Ethereal was sheltering behind to shoot the infantry squad closing on the relic, blasting away the leading edge to take them from being right on top of it to thrown back no small distance. In his turn Cam tried to rally, but with so many of his heaviest hitters annihilated in a single turn there wasn't much to rally with. His lascannon team did manage to blast Longstrike's ride to pieces, annoyingly, but by that point I was largely fed up with his consummate failures and practically welcomed seeing him killed. Other than that, firepower rattled harmlessly off my Commander's iridium armour, while my Fire Warriors finally managed to go a turn without being forced to go to ground. And when Turn 5 started, my Commander demonstrated he wasn't done winning this battle single-handedly, yet.

The mission was, as always, Crusade, and we'd rolled up four objectives. I had two, and Cam had two, and given that we were both playing infantry-heavy forces in a league that allows any and all infantry to score, neither of us were having much trouble keeping hold of our respective pair. Which is why my Commander's attack on the double-strength infantry squad in the building was so important; softening them up with some firepower from himself and his bodyguards, he failed to reach assault range on Turn 5; after splitting his bodyguards off to pincer the infantry in Turn 6, however, he managed to make it into combat, and over two assault phases killed enough Guardsmen to break their morale, sending them off the objective and racing for their back table edge. Annoyingly, a single heavy bolter heavy weapon team model (the last survivor of the squad) managed to get up there in Cam's turn to contest, and his lascannon team doubled out my bodyguard squad while they were standing on the roof making sure to contest just in case, so I couldn't actually claim it for my own. But Cam didn't have it, either, and that was what was important.

My deathrains made another run for the relic, aiming for a three-peat, but alas, it was not to be. I did manage to put them on the relic by jumping, running and then thrusting, but the rules in The Relic specify you have to be on it at the end of the movement phase to claim it, and sadly the game did not go to Turn 7. Again, though, while it would have been nice to have it, the real purpose was to contest; by ending in base contact with the relic themselves, they ensured that the infantry squad Cam had dispatched to seize the relic for his own forces couldn't get within 1” of them, and therefore it, in their own movement phase. I'd have preferred taking it for myself (until Scott rolled it up just to see what it would've been, and it turned out to explode, at least), but as the saying goes, if I can't have it, nobody will.

My MVP of this round is obviously and indisputably my Commander. Despite being waylaid by Imperial air defences (that's his story and he's sticking to it), when he did finally hit the table he did so with a terrifying vengeance, leading his bodyguard in absolutely annihilating the Guard's heavy armour spearhead and then turning back to take on twenty Guardsmen on his own, and winning, to secure me both Linebreaker and the overall win by tying up one of Cam's two objectives. Behold, Commander Swordwind, terror of the gue'la!

No comments:

Post a Comment