Monday, February 7, 2011

Conquest GT - Game 3, Vulkanistan Dual Land Raider

Ok, so here's where the wheels fell off, lol.

You may recall my Logan/Njal list, which you can see here. You may also have recalled some discussions over at YTTH where I boldly proclaimed that I was taking out my unit of Wolf Scouts (and their meltaguns) in favor of a third Lone Wolf.

"I love Lone Wolves" I proclaimed. "I don't need no stinkin' melta!" I boasted. "Besides, I have split firing relentless longfangs with Multimeltas. I mean, who runs Dual Land Raiders anymore anyways?"


Well, this is where I ignored my own good sense, my own good advice, and my own solid "take all comers" list building philosophy, and got whacked on the nose for my trouble. Take note kids. It's not enough to KNOW how to build balanced lists. You have to actually APPLY it. Lol.

So, needless to say, I faced Dual Land Raiders. Now, if I had had my Wolf Scouts, I MIGHT have pulled this off. As it was, I gave my opponent a good run for his money. But in the end I failed to carry the day.

The Mission: Kill Points.

The Deployment: Dawn of War.

My Opponent:

Vulkan, a Tech-Marine (for fluff!), 2 10 man Tactical Squads with Fists, Meltaguns, Combimeltas and Multimeltas, mounted in two Land Raider Redeemers with Multimeltas. And two ten man Assault Terminator Squads (6 TH/SS, 4 Lightning Claws).

8 Kill Points. And what Kill Points they are.

In an abstract, analytical sense, my opponent's army has some glaring weaknesses. It is very much a great army to table opponents who are unprepared to deal with the hammer he is bringing. In some ways he was playing the opposite end of the meta-game spectrum as I was (I bet on my opponent bringing too much anti-tank, he bets on them taking too little). But against well rounded opponents who can take down his Raiders early and simply shoot down the Terminators while moving away from them, he would lose, possibly quite badly.

This is all in the abstract of course because my opponent went undefeated and won Best Overall by a wide margin. So take this with a grain of salt. He knew what he was doing and came prepared to take it all home.

What makes it very interesting is that my opponent's army was also drop dead gorgeous.

Oh yeah, check out the photos:

Yes, my friends. I lost to a Competitive Hobbyist.

The irony.

So the stage is set.

Dawn of War appeared twice during this tournament. I hate this deployment. It really fucks over my Lone Wolves. They really need that 12" start to get headed for midfield where the action is going to take place. Starting them from my own board edge is just brutal.

Same goes for my Longfangs. Starting them on my board edge really puts a hamper on their ability to project firepower into midfield.

I believe my opponent took first turn.

My opponent brought both of his Land Raiders on nearly directly across from me. So far so good.

I brought everything on as centrally as I could, knowing I would need to be able to project into midfield AND have room to run away from his terminators. I moved up and ran.

I spent a turn slinging 10 Krak missiles and some Tank Hunting Lightning Bolts at a Raider and managed to stun it. Hurrah!

His second turn my opponent deep strikes in one squad of Terminators immediately to my left and on the other side of a hill, but within assault range next turn.

He then attempted to move his un-Stunned Raider and managed to Immobilize it. Hurrah! He smoothly and immediately disembarked his Techmarine from the other Raider and moved it into B2B with his Immobilized Raider. There was something about the way that he did it that told me that he had done it many times before. I knew at this point that this guy had had a lot of play time with this army, lol.

Ruh-roh scooby.

Anyways. So I did what any freedom loving American who plays Feral Genetically engineered berserkers would do: I ran away from his terminators while shooting the piss out of them.

More importantly, I ran away after having cast Murderous Hurricane on the terminators. This is important.

My shooting accounted for several terminators, it's hard to say exactly how many. I moved my Thunderwolves through my own ranks heading for my left flank. They are in range to assault his Terminators the next turn. I also Move my Lone Wolves up and left to put them in range of the back edge of his Terminators but also move them further into midfield.

In hindsight this was a mistake - I should have continued to run them straight into interdiction positions against the Raiders.

During his third turn he fails to get his second Terminator squad. His Land Raider that's not immobilized makes a bee-line straight for my Longfangs squad. They had taken some Assault Cannon shooting already and continued to take firepower as they moved forward. At some point I lost one of my 4 Multimelta gunners. His terminators try to reach me but are moving through difficult and dangerous terrain. I think I even took out a Terminator to terrain. In any case he fails to get into assault range.

At the bottom of three I shoot up his terminators again and then assault them with the Thunderwolves. The three Thunderwolves easily destroy the remains of this squad. Kill Point for me. I consolidate the Thunderwolves back towards the center.

Top of four his second Terminator Squad comes in and he cleverly places them to my far right, where I had been retreating my Wolf Guard. Now my Thunderwolves are out of position to get to them. His Land Raider drives straight forward and ends up exactly 16.5" away from my Longfangs, as I would find out on my turn. He again fails to repair his Immobile Land Raider.

Ok, moment of truth time. I could have sat there and shot three Strength 9 AP1 shots at his Land Raider. Maybe I should have. I eyeballed the distance. He had very cleverly and very intentionally placed himself such that in order to reach him without having to test for terrain, I would have to squeeze my Longfangs into a gap between two terrain pieces (sandbag lines) that formed a funnel pointed straight towards his Raider. If I failed to kill the Raider I would be left in basically the most perfect flame template formation you could imagine for his Redeemer cannons. It was a gamble on both our parts but it's easy to see why it was a smaller gamble for him.

If I succeed, I kill his Land Raider. He loses a Kill Point. If I fail, he kills my best bet at stopping his Raiders from rampaging through my entire army.

I took the bait. I moved the Longfangs 6" up, avoiding the terrain. I moved my Lone Wolves into assault distance of his Land Raider. I move my Wolf Guard away from his right flank Terminator Squad.

I declare that my Longfangs will fire at the Raider. It's close. One of the Longfangs (the one furthest up the "funnel" is in range by about an inch and a half. The LF directly behind him is in range by about a half an inch. The third Longfang is at 12.5 inches.

I fire both my melta-range Longfangs. I roll a one and a two.

Sonofagun! (My wife made me edit this - she says sonofagun is funnier).

My third Multimelta, predictably, bounces off AV 14.

My Lone Wolves charge. 9 swings with Chainfists. No hits.

I sigh. Here comes the hammer.

I had a brief moment of angst when he pivots and drives through the Lone Wolves. I positioned them badly and he wasn't forced to Tank Shock them to get through. Stupid me. This was one of a few moments during the game when I feel like I was a bit overly stressed. Room to grow.

His redeemer template is placed across all 3 Longfangs and Logan. I am hoping he rolls at least a single "one" so I can save a Longfang. Frustratingly, he does not. I believe this turn he also killed one of my Thunderwolves with an Assault Cannon.

His terminators had been slowed by Murderous Hurricane (my Rune Priest had split away earlier to deal with them). And I don't think they caught anyone this turn. I could be remembering that wrong.

In any case.

My turn again. Bottom of five. Things are looking grim. My three Lone Wolves are currently 3 juicy gift wrapped Kill Points for my opponent. I move one of them up and run him towards the immobilized Land Raider. I figure if it goes to six I will be in Assault Range set up for that Kill Point. The other two set up for another whirl at the Land Raider.

My opponent had driven his Land Raider right between his Terminators and my Thunderwolves. I was out of range to assault this turn. Crafty bastard.  I moved Logan up and attached him to the back edge of a Wolf Guard squad and then stretched them out and assaulted his Terminators. I wanted them to pull Logan into combat so he could hopefully pull off a miracle for me. Nothing else was going to get there this turn.

My two remaining Lone Wolves managed to miraculously wreck his Land Raider. His Tactical squad dumps out right in front of my Thunderwolves. Too bad I can't assault them.

Basically at this point things were not good. He has three Kill Points from my still Living Lone Wolves. He has wiped out my Longfangs to the man for a fourth Kill Point, killed my Wolf Guard Battle Leader for a fifth, and killed a Thunderwolf for a sixth.

I have earned a Kill Point for destroying his Land Raider, a Kill Point for destroying his first Terminator Squad and believe it or not am in reach of killing his last Terminator squad (the rest of my army, having nothing useful to contribute to the epic saga of "Purgatus failing to kill Land Raiders," had simply been shooting the piss out of the terminators and had some impact there).  His tactical squad and Vulkan are also standing in front of pretty much my entire army, and I had a Lone Wolf heading towards his Immobilized Land Raider.

The game ended.

Now, you're probably taking from all that that this is one of those very typical "if only the game had gone another turn batreps." Well, no. I still think I would have lost.

If everything had gone PERFECTLY, I might have pulled out a draw. But that would require a faith in the survivability of my engaged Wolf Guard squad against his Terminators for another assault phase (even with Logan helping) that defies credulity.

I lost. I was fighting to the end, but I was outmatched and outplayed in every way.

So what did I learn from this game?

Lesson Numero Uno, and this lesson is STRAIGHT from Stelek (I simply forgot it momentarily):

Don't try to game the meta. There is no meta. You have no way of knowing what someone will bring.  Don't assume that because Green Tide sucks that you won't face Green Tide.

And guess what, if you fail to prepare, Green Tide will wipe the floor with you, quite embarrassingly.

Don't assume that the "state of the game" in your internet community is the state of the game you will find on the tables. It's funny how an ostensibly "inferior" list archetype that you neglected to bring the tools to handle can quickly take you to the cleaners.

Instead, bring a list that can handle anything. Bring a truly "take all comers" list, and don't worry about what army or build you are facing.

I have recognized my failing, and will be sure to correct it.

For the record, my opponent was a pure gentleman. He was a competitor, sure. But really a nice guy.

I'm glad he took home the big win, and I'm proud to say my only loss was to the undefeated Best Overall winner.