Monday, 28 January 2013

Caledonian Game 5/5: Table 1 - FTW!

Final game in the 84 player, 1850 40k tournament held at Maunsfeld Gaming, UK.
I've won the previous 4 games with all the style and panache you expect from me..
I've had Invisi-Council Eldar from the UK's number 2 player
I've had Double Jaws podding Wolves with Null Zone SM allies from an ex-England ETC player/organiser
I've had Double Jaws podding Wolves with Null Zone SM allies (again) from the current Scottish ETC Captain
I've had Wraith/Air Crons from a Top 10 ranked player

I've lined up for myself in the final round.. Josh Roberts with Wraith/Air Crons...
The Giant Slayer!
The Prodigy!
The lean, mean, Reanimating Machine!
The Messiah of Tesla Fire! (pronounced "Fiah" lol) (double lol.. I like that! I may use that more..)
The England Number 1!
Team England ETC Captain!

Yeah. I lost.
Came 9th.
Don't talk to me, don't even fucking look at me. ... 'm disgusted. Still lol ;)
I don't lose.
Or do I?
I don't
Or do you?
Apparently. Fuck.

NOTE: All stats correct at time of tournament.

Alright, let's get down to it then:

Game 5
Opponent: Josh "2+ roll after deployment and I win the game" Roberts, who has, so far, won every round 20-0.
Mission: Big Guns Never Tire
Deployment: Hammer & Anvil

I win to decide who deploys/goes first and I let Josh. Two reasons, 1) to see how he deploys, where he is going and what his plan and 2) to get his fliers on first and then kill them with my own for air superiority. Of course this relies on him coming in (3+) and me also (3+) .. I'll take those odds.

Josh deploys, as you can see to the left, in the middle of the board aggressively. I can see the army just moving up as a pack and then, with flier support, striking out with the mobility of the Wraiths/Air to hit numerous targets, on the way in the A-Barges let rip with Tesla on my Wraiths to remove the counter assault element.

I deploy (top left) with my own A-Barges out of first turn range for his A-Barges and putting the central tower between a portion of his force, he will need to flow around it to get everyone in sight. Hoping he moves up swiftly to stop the time I can waste, I should be getting first turn shots on his Barges and hoping to glance at least one to death for First Blood and for the ground support advantage.

The battle plan here is a weird one. I am hoping to draw Josh in, racing Wraiths up the field and leaving Barges plus Immortals in the midfield. I will draw him in for two turns, then use fliers, turboboost and Veil to leave him standing staring at nothing.

Well, not nothing as my A-barges do not move fast enough to escape. This is my first key mistake, giving up the A-barges before a dice roll has been made. I forgot, foolishly, in my planning stages that the Heavy Support units could not only score.. but gave up 1VP as well when they died.

Now in my defence. I could not engage in direct conflict, becase going first, Josh would have 2 turns to maul me if I also deployed any further forward. I could not split my force because by deploying centrally he could reach out and get both flanks.
I was tempted to Deep Strike my Wraiths and use them in the backfield to clear out his objectives, but I decided they would be better employed as assault screens to slow his progress.
So..I choose not to seize.

Turn 1

Uneventful and to the plan. Josh flies up the field and takes some snap shots at Wraiths, killing one.
In return, I adjust my position so that his Wraiths only have 12" or 11" (in one case) charge ranges. If he gets them.. screw it, fair enough the odds are too small.
I am able to strip 2 Hull Points from one A-Barge and 2 HPs from another. I use 2 of my Barges to do the first 2 HPs on one, but the 3rd of my Barges is out of range to finish it off.. I settle for some excellent Tesla and strip the other 2 HPs from a second one.. cool. That's some damage (Post script: If I'd have left my Warriors & Immortals on the table, the chances are I could easily have stripped those last points..damn).
I take the opportunity to slow down one unit of Wraiths that do not have a Destoyer Lord attached and engage them with one unit of my own Wraiths.
The other unit of Wraiths runs to protect Barges and itself (through long charge ranges) 
In combat, my Wraiths kill one of his, bringing both sides down to equal numbers, though one of mine is wounded.

Turn 2
Josh gets on 1 flier and brings it on obliquely to his table edge in order to be out of range for my fliers coming on to kill it. I am now in a tough position because it means there is a strong chance my fliers will come on and then in turn 3, his other 2 planes will arrive and will be in a position to go for mine. The 2 DLord Wraith units move up on either side of the central castle and his Barges jostle for a decent position to protect from my wraiths but also to get decent shots.
Shooting damages nothing for me.
Wraith combat is a stalemate.
In my Turn 2, 3 of my fliers (all bearing Warriors) arrive. I elect to leave the Haywires on board because I want to keep the troops alive and mobile to claim objectives later. I do this on the assumption that I can strip a HP from 2 different A-Barges of Josh's with Tesla.  
I succeed in killing 2 Barges of his with Fliers and my own Barges. I get First Blood. My Overlord flat outs 30" to the other side of the board and hides behind a small church building. He is going to zoom up field next turn to threaten the back objectives.

Wraith combat sees a couple of Wraiths go down, 2 from my side, one from his.

Turn 3
Josh gets another plane in and brings it on to target my two on the left, he moves the exsting flier up to support this.. meaning we are looking at probably one dead plane for me. His final A-barge negotiates for a firing position. His Immortals have edged round from behind the central tower to put some long range Tesla into my fliers as an insurance policy.
His Dlord Wraiths adance on both of my right hand A-Barges (in the below, the 2 are top left), setting up a multi-assault on both of them. The second unit of DLord wraiths move up to engage my own 2nd wraith unit who are currently protecting the 3rd A-Barge from assault for one more turn of shooting at Josh's planes.
In shooting, he manages to kill one flier, cripple another and his final Tesla Barge even puts a HP on the 3rd plane. Damn.. Cron on Cron fliers is both violent and easy.

To the left, you see the position of the game at the bottom of Josh's 3rd turn.. His wraiths made assault on both sides, but whilst he made short work of the 2 barges (top left), he failed vs my Wraiths who hold up his quite successfully.

 In my 3, the Immortal Flier does not nor does my downed Warrior unit (thankfully) come on meaning I am crucially down 2 anti infantry and an anti air unit. In addition, for this game the second Haywire Cryptek was with the Immortals.. so I have little to kill of his final A-Barge as my fliers will have to try and deal with his.

I now need to move out my Immortals who have simply acted as bait.. except in a major miscalucation by me, they were never the bait.. the barges were.. So I Veil out onto the other end of the board.. which was empty, but this turn I gun the damaged flier over and I Veil the Immortals onto an objective. Again..I am hoping to keep them moving to the back objective to deny him it and to claim whilst keeping them safe.

 I gun down one of the fliers with my own and the final A-barge goes toe to toe with his.. failing miserably to damage it past taking a hull point. My Overlord does nothing this turn.. flying about behind the enemy lines and putting in some rear armour snap fire at one of the fliers.

In combat, both my embattled Wraith units stay alive and torment Josh my tieing his Wraiths up. This is nice. I feel that whilst I was confident at this point.. this was the turn where I could have made some better rolls, against his fliers, with my reserves and a poor decision by my Overlord to snap fire, when he should have charged into Josh's Immortals.

The wraith mess continues.. although I am down to just one dude at the back end by now... shite.

Turn 4

 Josh moves his Dlord and Wraiths that have just eaten my barges to clear out the Wraith combat in the middle. His immortals move back and start firing at my Veil dudes. His ABarge and flier that has just come on plus the existing one zoom for position.

In shooting, he kills my two planes with his fire, stranding the Warriors to walk on from the board edge. This is me done will turn hard in his favour.

He charges his 5 remaining Immortals into my Veil unit. I win combat, but he stays. Balls!

 His Wraiths charge my own embattled ones, killing them and the others kill the one in the back field.. both consolidate well (4 & 6)

 My turn, my Immortal Flier comes on and guns down one of his. They disembark via Invasion Beams and run to claim an objective, the Overlord moves in to clear out the Immortals in lame-o CC. My Warriors all walk on, protecting one unit from being charged in a defensive screen move.. all 3 are going for one objective in the bottom of my D-Z.

I've not got a lot to do here.. I blast away at his plane with my plane.. killing it. The Overlord clears out the combat and my final Barge fails to kill his final barge. 

Turn 5 (Barely)

 Josh's 5, he launches the Wraiths forward towards my non-Veil Immortals who've just Invasion Beamed.. and to clear out my last Barge. He has a squad of Warriors on the very rear objective in the bottom of HIS D-Z and the other Wraiths move in to slaughter my Warriors. With a D Lord detaching and going for another.

Nasty.. one unit dies in cc, one is locked (amazingly).. he kills some Immortals (non-Veil) with a long Wraith charge and denies that objective.. He kills my final ABarge

He is also claiming the 5th objective with his final ABarge.

I should mention there are literally 3-4 minutes left in the round people watching the game.. eugh.

 I fly my Overlord 30" over to contest the ABarge objective.. forgetting of course that it can't deny whilst on the pissing vehicle. I claim one with my veil, I move and run the protected (by their compatriot Warrior-blockers) Warriors up to the other objective, but am an 1" short to deny his Warriors in my DZ (Invasion Beams at some point.. I forget how they got there lol).

 Ah. It's over.. he claims 3 objectives and has killed 3 Heavies.. I claim just 1 and have killed just 2 Heavies. I get First Blood and Line Breaker.. but he also gets Line Breaker.

Final Score? Wow...nowhere near as close as it felt for the first 3 turns.. I genuinely thought I might scrape a win.. then I fucked it.

It turns out to be a 17-3 for him?
Really? Yeah..

Thoughts in retrospect?

Should have killed the Barges and Fliers at the expense of everything else..I did try ..
Should have used my Overlord far more aggressively against the Barges in the early turns to help cripple them rather than skulking around and using him as a line breaker and as a dude to mop up small units. He only cleared out a combat once in Turn 4 and frankly he was under utilised.
Immortals & Warriors should have started on the table so I could just fire for 2 turns before being picked up and transported away - with the amount of Gauss fire I had, I'd be rolling some glances and help to kill the Barges.
Poor decision.
I played them embarked for safety, when I knew my game plan was to wait, draw and try to maul the fire units before flying or teleporting away to safer climes.. If I'd have had the additional 25-50 shots on the board over two turns, how many more 6's would I have rolled?
Maths say 2.7 per turn.. that's just under 2 with Jink.. that's a dead barge over the 2 turns before they'd need to be picked up or change targets.
How many Barges left to score on an objective in the late game? One. Piss.
How many wraiths could I have killed fmo the unit without the DLords so my Wraiths could have engaged them and tied up for a couple of turns?
Could I have used the smaller Warrior squads to block charge lanes and soak the Wraiths for one phase? Perhaps enabling my Wraiths to go for Barges.
Maybe, but I do know that I didn't.
I needed them on the board and they weren't there - in the end, they were sat around in my D-Z anyway after the planes were killed.. except they didn't contribute.


Well, at least Josh didn't win a perfect tournament! Could I have won that game? Yes. Do I have the ability? Yes. I think I need more practice and more practice specifically versus Necrons. Whilst it is great knowing your army.., you need to play against it more..

I finish 9th overall. I needed 8 more points to finish 2nd and to be fair, needed to have beaten Josh by at least a 14/6 result to even tie with him on points, so needed a 15/5 to win the tournament.. that's a solid win. I did at one point think I might have gotten a draw/narrow win either way which might have kept me up on the podium, but would not have been enough to come first.. second sure..

But it wasn't to be, I have said before that deployment is incredibly important to winning the game and that so many games are won on deployment. I choose to blame tactical errors in play and deployment for this loss, the skill of the opponent is important - he capitalised on my errors, he forced the errors with pressure and won the day.

Great fun, great game. I learned from it and will be stronger for it.
Many, many thanks to Josh for a lesson learned.


  1. Good Batreps and insightful analysis. Good job in the tournament against a strong field.

    Always a bit of a bummer to be on Table 1 in the final round then drop out of the top 5. But, there can be only two players at the top table last round and you were one. Nice!


    1. Hey BDS,
      Thanks for reading and the comment. It is a bummer, but, like Highlander - There can be only one!
      Any thoughts on improvements or advice?
      Oh, enjoyed reading "the iron warrior" post dude.. The call of the iron is strong lol!

  2. Ive enjoyed reading these write ups. Really nice detail. Sounds like a solid game very intense, josh is one of those rare players like yourself who make very few mistakes always gona be a hard game.

    Only thing is if it was me ( and i never play averages )i would of rammed his abarge with your lord on barge if possible, could of changed the scores a bit.

    1. Thanks Rich, gad you've enjoyed them...I tried to get as much detail in.. It's hard to remember exactly why you do what you do in game...even a couple of days later lol!

      I must say mate, I feel I really under-utilised the Overlord in that game.. Even looking back I can't think of a decent use of him.. I'm thinking dlord may be better :(
      Although he was excellent in other games..
      It may very well have been a better option to engage the barge even on a long shot..

      Oh and thanks for the compliment! Although I defo think I made a couple of serious errors in my approach to the game..but that said, the execution of said plan whilst in game was strong enough..but ultimately flawed lol

  3. Really enjoyed all the bat reps. I know how long they can take to write up, especially when you're thinking tactically, and not just story telling. Appreciate the effort and the insight!