So, I had a game against fellow Mind War FTW author ItsPug recently, 2000 points of his really nice looking Imperial Guard (check out his own blog for pictures and tutorials) vs 2000 points of my ‘Counts As’ Blood Angels. “Why are they Counts As?” you cry! “What are they actually?” Well, I’m sorry to say there are no pics, as they are a horrible hodgepodge of actual Blood Angels (of Blood), Khorne Berzerkers, Salamanders Assault Marines, Plague Marines, and Rhino chassis on loan from the Scythes of the Emperor.
Now, the reason it’s like this is simple – I wanted to use as few unpainted models as possible, and have it as close to WYSIWYG as possible. While I own a few painted BA, most are Death Company, and…well, I wasn’t using them. lol. I don’t own very many Marines carrying Meltaguns, as my Tactical squads carry the free Flamer instead (Eldar Pathfinders are a pain!) and those that do?? Well, they’re inevitably the corrupted sons of Mortarion.
This is all incidental, anyway. Chris’ list, at 1750, is (roughly) :
4 Meltas, Chimera [ML/HF]
2 Inf Squads:
Autocannon, ML/HB Chim
2 Inf Squads:
For 2k he added a couple units of Storm Troopers with double Melta, and a Scout Sentinel with Autocannon.
My list was:
2 RAS with Melta and AssBack
2 RAS with double Melta, Fist and Rhino
2 SAng Priests (joining RASsbacks) with Infernus and PW
8 Vanguard [2 PW, 2 Infernus, PF, 2 Melta Bombs]
You can see from the off that my list is a lot more short ranged (typically looking to engage at 24″ or closer) and a lot more mobile. It benefits me then to have fewer vehicles (7 vs 12) as it grants me more freedom of movement. This is especially true given the mission we rolled – Dawn of War, Annihilation.
A lot of people hate kill Points. I don’t. Anyway, whether they’re a good system or not is a topic for another time – we used them.
He won the roll for first turn, and elected to deploy nothing. I deployed the two Razors 8″ or less from the board, so that my squads could run straight in at the start of the game, and the Razors could continue as though they hadn’t needed to idle for a minute or two waiting for their charges. This is a tactic I initially began using as Chaos Space Marines, with their army being (like mine) predominantly short-ranged, I began this technique of deploying 2 Rhinos on a flank and then refusing virtually the whole board and using them as cover for the other three following up, so only 2 required using Smokes. Obviously with BA it works better, as we can roar off 12″ and still shoot!
Mephiston hid virtually on the half-way in some ruins, completely out of LoS. This is a (very) rough approximation:
It’s hard to accurately represent the buildings – but basically both Razors had solid cover to my left, and the front screened the rear from the front.
I opted to Deep Strike the Vanguard, as he had done with the STs, and he was also Outflanking with the Sentinel, reasoning that the meagre firepower it possessed wouldn’t be missed under a turn of Night, and would be more valuable coming in and flanking my Vindicators. While usually Outflanking a single unit is a far from reliable tactic, I think I agree with his assessment there – Vindicators aren’t exactly easy for the Manticore (a clear priority target for me) and especially the Russes to destroy – his ‘main force’ had Autocannons I could literally shrug off, and his Melta is unreliable in terms of getting it delivered to a Fast Vindicator, unlike with regular ones. Obviously he would have been expecting the STs or perhaps Marbo to be able to fulfil that role as well (role redundancy without unit redundancy)….but you get the point.
His first turn, he moved on, line abreast. This was A Bad Plan, hence the article.
Basically, this was his first turn movement. Now, I think he actually forgot while moving that Night Fighting would be in effect, which is fair enough given there was a lot of banter and messing around – this WAS a friendly game after all. That said, it created a situation that Imperial Guard are fairly prone to, in my experience – they wish to spread out and maximise their initial firepower because of the ingrained fear of close-range fire fights, and, of course, melee.
In a way, they aren’t wrong to want to do this – stopping your opponent in his own Deployment Zone is a great feeling, and grants a security and freedom of movement that is largely unmatched in 40k. When you can achieve this, and especially when you have the prodigious anti-Infantry that Chris’ list can supply, you are laughing as you whittle down squad after squad on foot a turn, only needing the Flamers to mop up.
This list, I don’t like in some regards, and think it’s actually a bit light on anti-tank. I don’t like Hull Bolters, because I simply don’t rate the Heavy Bolter as an any way impressive weapon, and I’m not a fan of the regular Russ…but Chris does very well with the list, including qualifying for the ETC this year. He’s used to it, and can overcome these inherent weaknesses against most players [he clearly had a good teacher… 😉 ] making the list more than the sum of it’s parts.
All this is background though – what matters is – he moved on, and Chimeras attempted to shoot. Nothing happened. In my turn, I roared forward 12″ and wrecked the Chimera furthest to the right of your picture, putting Mephy right in his face as well, and bringing the rest of my forces on to the right of my centre, effectively restricting his Russes to a supporting role as spectators over in the corner behind that ruin.
By using the fewer hulls and greater speed of my Tanks, I was able to concentrate on a small portion of his battleline, and chew it up chunk by chunk.
What he SHOULD have done, is radically different. Firstly, with the threat of a Flying Powerhouse like Mephiston, and the large amount of Cover available to him in his Deployment Zone, e should have disembarked 2 Infantry Squads. Granted, since his had a sequence of accidents at RetCon and were undergoing repair, he may not have wanted to take them out of the case – entirely fair – but they would have provided both an easy target (and therefore bait!) for Mephiston, and a buffer to force him further away from the Tanks.
With that set up, he should have moved his Chimeras 12″ onto the table – that way he would have had room to disembark when some rides got broken – and they could have used a few Smokes to minimise that too.
By leading into me with these he restricts my mobility – there’s no good being quicker when I need to get close, and already am. I can’t drive away very far and still shoot you, so when the only Chimeras I can shoot/charge are empty you either force me to disembark (Battlecannon fodder) or create a stalemate of massed hulls pressed close together, where greater numbers should hopefully tell for you over my superior quality (worked for the Soviets!)
Of course, this would end up in quite a bit of carnage, and in a straight up shooting match between 2 Vindicators and a Russ Squadron, give me the Vindis any time.
Instead then it may be more advisable to Castle up – to have your firepower concentrated so that by coming close enough to let rip myself I am exposed to your much greater volume of fire. Problem with that, of course, is creating a Parking lot for my Vanguard and Mephy to exploit – but this is solvable, with a Double Castle.
This then creates a situation where I am forced to either split my forces, or be exposed to half of the army shellacking me while I try to dispose of the still-beating corpse that is the half I am aiming for.
Granted, the terrain perhaps wasn’t ideal for this [nor was the fact that I forgot to save the map in the couple hours between doing the above pictures and the following…]
this clogged up his lines, and allowed my Fast vehicles to roll his flank with unreasonable success
He wasn’t helped by a truly terrible T2 shooting phase, but that’s how it happens sometimes, and he wasn’t able to bring a large part of his firepower to bear because of the way in which he had spread out
Correct application of his forces (or more correct, at least) would have been to double castle – that would have resembled
vassal pic vassal