Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ulthwe vs Blood Angels Written 2K Battle Report

I took on a new Blood Angels force, and by new I mean, only just built and not painted.  Between this and time constraints I don't have a battle force picture of the Blood Angels.  They had Sanguinary Guard, 10 Death Company, Lamaretes, or whatever his name is, Mephiston, 2 Devestator Squads (one with heavy bolters and one with lascannons), a dreadnought and Storm Raven, and three Intercessor squads.

My Ulthwe force at 2k:

This was my first post-codex game to include a Wraithknight.  With two sizeable wraith squads as well I figured I could test the new Bonesinger by taking 2.

Mission: We were trying the new Eternal War mission with 6 progressive capture objective points and gives you an extra point for destroying units.  I got to choose the deployment zone and went for short edges, putting Swooping Hawks, Warp Spiders, and the 10 Wraithguard in Deep Strike.  The rangers were, as usual sneaking in from the webway.  



While my opponent was going first, I, luckily, stole the initiative.

I was aggressive in my movement, as you have to be when using a slow moving short range army.   10 Wraithguard dropped in range of a Storm Raven and when all their firing was  it sat on 3 wounds left.  I had hit 8 times, but only wounding 3 times and rolling poorly for my wounds left the blasted flyer on 3 wounds, and my wraithknight and warp spiders all failed to wound it with their shooting.  I did get off Quicken and Protect on my Axe guard and my rangers managed 3 mortal wounds on the Heavy Bolter squad and with the grenade mortal wound from the Swooping hawks managed to finish off the squad as the last man standing failed his 2+ armour save.  I used Fire and Fade to move the Wraithknight a second time after shooting to put pressure on my opponent and hopefully keep his army in his deployment zone.  I started off the game with 6 VPs, and had already burned through 4 of my 6 CP.

My opponent deployed everything and was happy to bring his still alive Storm Raven into hover mode and lay into my forces.  A lot of his shooting was used to work down my Wraithknight.  He did 13 wounds to it and I didn't make a single 5+ or 6+ for Ulthwe at this point.  As his dreadnought finished off the last of my Warp Spiders in combat and Sanguinary Guard launched into my Wraithguard his Death company charged my Wraithknight.

Mind you this was not a Death Company entirely tooled up.  There were 4 with Thunderhammers.  Those 4 managed to cause 9 wounds, all of which I failed to save, and then caused 27 wounds.  I Ulthwe ignored 2.  The WK was dead.  250 pts of models easily destroyed a 500 pt model without breaking a sweat.  They needed no assistance.  The shooting it took before hand was inconsequential.  Mind you the rest of the unit hadn't even had to roll.  The Bonesinger that was intended to support it and help it was useless and watched helplessly. He had 3 VP.

I tried to figure out a way to recover, and held to my plan, so I moved my guard out of combat and with 8 models left I split my shooting, 3 to finish off the raven, and 5 to kill the dread.  Meanwhile my Axe guard moved up the field.  

My shooting was awful.  While I did manage to down the Raven, finally, the other 5 left the dread sitting on 2 wounds. My Axe guard made it in to 1 squad of intercessors and slew them.  More importantly I had board control.  I was up at 12 VP, and all out of CP.

The marines moved to solidify their left flank and take out the last of my real firepower.

With startling efficiency the Wraithguard and Swooping Hawks were wiped out.  Less than half of the Ulthwe forces remained, while the Blood Angels had lost barely a quarter of their force.  Yet they only sat at 5 VP, having moved off the only board objective they had controlled.

My forces were reeling, and overpowered, but I could still sneak out a victory if I played smart.  A bonesinger managed to kill the dread with smite, while the combined efforts of Smite from a Spiritseer, and the Wraithaxe assault wiped out the other devastator squad.  I crept up to 20 VP.

The Blood Angels pushed to the center of the table, easily wiping out the rangers and both bonesingers.  They jumped to 9 VP, choosing to abandon a nearby objective for a position closer to my guardians holding my back line.

I had lost a huge portion of my army, but I thought I could put the game away if things went to plan.  I moved my Wraith axes in position to charge the two intercessor squads in the rear of my opponent's deployment zone, while one of my Spiritseers moved to retake an objective I had lost.  In a shameful display, my Axes failed their 6" charge by rolling snake eyes.  This left my Autarch totally in the open and out of position and my whole force vulnerable.  It was a horrifying moment because I could easily see how this roll would cost me the game, and now I was just a spectator to being tabled. I moved up to 24 VP.

My opponent used a stratagem to redeploy his Death Company to my back lines.  They were in all but mop-up mode, with characters splitting off.  Then my opponent made one great mistake.  He boasted to someone else about how he was about to easily get Warlord.  Firing two units of intercessors at my Autarch he only managed to cause 2 wounds.  I had shrugged off their mighty firepower.  Undeterred and pressing his advantage he moved on to the assault phase.  During the assault phase both units of intercessors charged my Autarch, while the sanguinary guard and Mephiston charged the Spiritseers.  The Stratagem to roll 3D6 on the charge allowed his deathguard to slam in to my rearmost unit of guardians, while two characters mutilated the other squad.  By the time he was done and morale was over both Spiritseers were easily slaughtered, one unit of guardians was wiped out, and 3 guardians remained on my rearmost point.  Yet my Autarch still lived on 2 wounds and had killed an intercessor.  He had leapt up to 15 VP.

I had to hope the game ended before I got tabled.  My only moves were to consolidate the three remaining guardians to hold their point at the back, and get my Wraithblades in to combat.  I didn't remove my Autarch, so I couldn't get overwatched.

They did their job well, killing both squads.  At the end of the turn I had 23 VP.

My opponent now had a choice, to play for board control, ignoring my survivors, and win on points if the game pushed to turn 7, or abandon points and try to chase me down and table me.  He opted to try to table me.  He repositioned his entire army and the only interaction of note was when one of his characters charged into my remaining guardian squad, only killing 2, leaving one guardian remaining.  His stretch up the field brought him up to 17 VP.  Fate favouring my opponent, the game continued.

I didn't have much left to do in my turn.  In an act of defiance against doom my guardian broke from assault to continue holding the objective (thanks obsec!) as my Autarch and Wraithblade bodyguards moved to another objective point.  I pushed to 25 VP.

The blood angels zoomed across the board ready to slam into my wraithguard as their standard bearer moved in to kill my last guardian.  

He smote down one of my wraithguard.  I pulled the closest model from the squad.  Suddenly my opponent noticed that made his charge more difficult.

Once again the dice gods punished his hubris for casting Smite, as Mephiston rolled a 4 on his charge, needing a 5.  Then, his Sanguinary guard also rolled a 4 on the charge, needing an 8.  He had 19 VP, but was certain he'd  wipe me out in another turn, with everything he had left.  The dice gods then abandoned him in full as the game ended, 26 - 19, with a close fought victory to Ulthwe.

Post game thoughts:

Wow, that was close!  Blood Angels are positively beastly.  They're the fastest marine faction I've played against, and their Red Thirst rule is probably the best of the individual marine chapter rules.  Nearly everything was wounding my units on 2+ or 3+, no matter how tough it was.  This will be a force to reckon with given their speed, toughness, and ferocity.

The Death Company are insanely point efficient for their damage output in combat.  The fact that they chewed through a Lord of War that cost twice their points without breaking a sweat is pure madness.

This was an odd game in that there are 6 moments that really stand out.  The first is when my dice went cold early for the Wraithguard.  A 400 pt unit that is usually reliable were in an ideal position and fell flat on their faces.  It happens, but hopefully not often.  In this case dragons would have been better as they would have been fewer points, but more likely to get the job done turn 2 with the additional chance of rolling higher damage.  Those failures early game cost me a lot and it was tough to recover from.  But my opponent's luck going cold right at the end of the game, finally failing charges for the first time all game ended up doing him in.

I learned that the Bonesinger seems not worth it, but I'll test it out in other builds.  They never had a chance to use their heal ability because I never had a wraith construct on fewer than full wounds.  It was either full wounds... or dead.  This meant all they ended up doing was holding objectives and at one point casting smite.  I was super disappointed.  But the model is pretty.

Those invul saves on the Wraith axes came in handy since I sped them up with quicken and used Protect.  One thing I forgot was that I wanted to spend a CP to get them to advance a full 6", since I'd get to go a total of 22" with Quicken (thanks to the FAQ for Nids we know with those type of powers we roll once for advance and use it both times).

The Wraithknight is actively bad.  It was as survivable as I could make it and never had a chance.  After actually using it, it might be as much as 150 pts overpriced.  It was hot garbage.  Total swill.  here's why... not only does it have to pay a ridiculous tax to have either no shield or titan killing weapon, or ridiculous tax to have those but not good guns, it's actively not fun to play with.  When you buy the basic package of a Knight it's still a force to be reckoned with because it comes with the invul and either two great long range weapons, or one great and one close combat weapon.  The knight either lacks firepower to match, or simply isn't as survivable, yet costs more.  Watching it get torn apart so easily actually made a very tight tense and fun game... less fun.  I'm not in any way interested in using the knight again, but I might give another load out a chance to see if it can change my mind at all.  Right now I feel like it just needs something to either distinguish it (like a 5+ ignore damage) from a knight, or  to be VASTLY cheaper than a knight.  I can deal with gamble units that can do real well, or real poorly but priced somewhere in between, because I know they're a gamble going in.  Right now it's just a poor unit that can only do well if your opponent is either unlucky or makes an unforced error.

My plan to keep my opponent bottled up while I took the board ultimately won me the game, but I felt like this game was easily winnable by my opponent.  He was still experimenting with his units, and so he was overkilling everything he went after.  He hasn't had enough experience with them yet to know how much damage output he can trust from them so he can just spread out and devour an opponent.  Even still if he hadn't made a few mental errors in regards to how he took objectives early he would have kept pace with the VP total in the early part of the game.  I felt like I learned a lot about Blood Angels in this game and much of it will shift how I play against them in the future.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Ulthwe vs Imperium of Man Written 2k Battle Report

I got in another game and continue to test out builds.  In this game I took on a mixed Imperium of Man list, which included detachments of Imperial Guard, Ultramarines, and White Scars.  My list was entirely made of Ulthwe.

The forces of Ulthwe:

The Imperial forces:

Once again, we had no idea what the other would bring when we built our lists.  I let my opponent choose the mission (one of the new ones from Chapter Approved, in this case Race to the Finish).  He also won the role to choose deployment style and despite my +1 he won the roll to go first.  I had a gut feeling he was going to get to go first, so I deployed very defensively, and I spent 3 CP to put both of my 20 man defender squads into the webway.  I kept all my psykers together (conclave, spiritseer and Eldrad) in the Wave Serpent, and imagined different options for how to play my first turn.  I even took Will of Asuryan to test out how it plays supporting a large block of guardians and see maybe my misgivings about it were unfounded. He took Doom and Mind War with it.  The Spiritseer had Conceal and the Conclave took Protect/Jinx and Quicken/Restrain.


With my opponent going first I brought my rangers in at a hidden spot to attract his speedy bike units as a road bump.

At the start of his turn he brought two bike units with Captains and spent CP to let one of his units advance and fire (and charge if they wanted).  They shot up the Rangers and by the time they were done the unit only had two models left.  The Guardian squad in the street absorbed almost all his other fire bringing them down to just a single model.  In the moral phase the last guardian fled the field and one of my two rangers returned to the webway.  My opponent scored First Blood and Fulfilled one tactical objective by killing that unit, while one of his bike squads, and a Captain was hugging objective 5, ready to defend it and claim points in my turn.

For my turn I was told to take one of my opponent's rear objectives (which I ignored) had to cast psychic powers (and 3 would get me D3 points) and then clear the center of the board.  The board was already clear at 6", but to get 12" clear I'd have to take out the bike unit close to my bikes.  I moved nearly all my units forward except the D-cannons, and only brought one of my Guardian squads in from the Webway.  The War Walkers came in at the corner behind the imperial forces and they played their intercept power and killed one of the two War Walkers.  By the end of my turn, using the Seer Council stratagem, and Discipline of the Black Guardians, and rerolls, I was down to 0 command points (I gained one back thanks to the Autarchs so spent 8 in total).  With all my shooting I'd eliminated the two forward bike squads and captains, and a squad of Heavy Bolters and tied up a couple flamers that had shrugged off most my shooting.  The Conclave and Eldrad both put 4 mortal wounds on the unit of bikers trying to defend Objective 5, wiping out 4 in the psychic phase.  Another highlight was using the Guardian Bright Lances against one of the Captains, and after getting one shot through I rolled a 2 for wounds... then spent a CP, got a 6, and vaporised him (this was the CP I'd gotten back).  I got 2 VP for my psychic shenanigans, and 1 for clearing the center of the board.

My opponent wasn't entirely shaken, but he was continuing his aggressive play.  He put some wounds on the Wave Serpent, cut the warlocks down by 2, destroyed a weapon platform and shot the bikes down to a single model.  This was one of the worst turns I've had defensively in that the Warlocks were -1 to hit thanks to conceal, and had 3+ invuls and I failed pretty much every 3+ I had to make and didn't make a single Ulthwe save in this turn.  My opponent had a a moment of worry in that he assaulted Eldrad, but not the conclave, because he didn't want to assault the conclave at all (given that they wound on a 2+).  He failed the charge, spent a CP to reroll one die and rolled the same number.

I felt good about this turn because I was in good position.  I moved my Guardians up and brought in my last unit in my opponent's back field. I moved my D cannons forward to be in range of the last unit of bikes and supported them with the Autarch.  I moved my Wave Serpent forward to charge the heavy weapon squad.  The conclave spread out to give them charge options.  The psychic phase started with the Conclave laying 5 wounds on the bikes.  I was thrilled.  Then they failed to cast Protect and Jinx, and Eldrad failed to cast Doom, and Mind War, but did cause one wound with Smite.  The Spiritseer's Conceal was Denied.  The psychic phase was upsetting, but I moved on to the shooting phase... which felt worse.  The War Walker rolled 12 shots for its Plasma Missiles, but on a 3+ to hit I only managed 3 hits, and 1 wound which was saved.  My D-cannons did the same thing this turn they had done the last... made one shot each.  Usually they do well for me, but at this point I was uncharacteristically disappointed with them.  My new guardian squad shot up the lascannon devastator squad... causing 1 casualty.  As a highlight  they did shoot the Speeder out of the sky.  My shooting did eventually do just enough to kill off the bikes and their Captain, which allowed my Warlocks to charge in to the guardsmen nearby, wiping out the unit, but wrapping around the commander. I did score another VP top go to 4 thanks to Linebreaker.

My opponent was out of fast units, but was going to try take down my Wave Serpent in combat.  He moved his back line LT and Captain to help take it down, and managed to kill off another platform and a few Storm Guardians.  By the end of the turn the Wave Serpent survived on a single wound, but he was struggling with the volume of infantry marching at him, in part because they weren't coming from a single direction, they were all around him and he didn't have great lines of sight.  With the VP score so close he was hoping to get a few more points, but instead I gained 2VP by defending an objective near my deployment zone.  Also, his commander fell freeing up my Conclave.

I moved in for the kill.  I flew the Serpent away to hold an objective, blasted apart all three remaining devastator squads with psychic powers and shuriken fire and D-cannons (again getting 1 shot each), and after successfully casting Protect AND Jinx and Smite (6 Mortal Wounds from the Conclave wiping out the Missile squad) on his warlord I wiped him out in combat, circumventing that pesky Storm Shield.  By the end of the turn there were only a handful of models left on the table and I was standing at 8 VP to 2.

With the game well in hand I agreed to let my opponent play out his 4th turn to see if he could score one of his objective cards (either wounding one of my characters with one of his, or destroying a unit).  If he could kill a character with his it would swing him up to 6 VP.  Unfortunately his captain couldn't finish the job and my opponent conceded.

I wasn't thrilled with the War Walkers, but that's one part them being unlucky, and one part me probably not using them well.  I'll give them more chances to see if there's another way in which they really capture my affection.  The Conclave continues to perform well when substantially supported.  At the very least I love the look of surprise when a passerby sees the unit tearing through a force and is clearly confused.  Also, I rolled outstanding for their Mortal Wounds this game rolling a 4, 5, & 6 respectively.

Again I find the psychic phase to be very unreliable, and failing everything in Turn 2 could easily have cost me the game had I been a bit out of position.  I'm happy this wasn't the first game I ever had with the D-cannons.  Every time they rolled 1 shot and never caused more than 2 wounds with a shot, yet my overall experience with them is that they are well worth it and this game was a fluke.

I don't know much about the Storm squad yet, as they weren't great for the set up, but they did put out a nice amount of firepower and for their price I am happy to try them out a few more times, even bumping the squad up to a full 24.

I don't regret spending the 3 CP for the two large guardian squads.  Bringing one in late totally caught my foe off guard because he had been thinking my entire force was deployed, which caused him to move up his speeder, the thing that had been blocking me deploying where I wanted.  Players get so used to a full force Alpha Strike that holding an extra unit back a turn can reinforce weak areas and swing things in your favour with good position. 

Will of Asuryan never was cast.  Not once.  I don't think I'll take it at all unless MAYBE I'm playing against Nid, Tzeentch, or GK in order to get the +1 to deny.  Kind of disappointing.  At this point I think maybe it should be addressed, even at 5 WC it just isn't appealing.  Maybe +2 to deny or extend the fearless range to 12" or even 9".