Had a game vs my friend Ray again. Same points (2k) and he used exactly the same list as last time, iirc. I didn't, but that was largely because I lost my list from before, and had to write a new one at the time...lol. Since the game wasn't truly the best for his army, I'm going to present a summary of the game rather than a more in-depth analysis - such as you might have preferred.
So, on to mission etc.
We rolled a Seize Ground, with 3 Objectives. 3 Objectives, on a 6x4...this benefits neither army, as we are both rather fast - and he can clump the objectives sufficiently to string his RAS out and claim multiples - and I can't use my ability to go Flat Out to seize farther away objectives on T5 - helping him to concentrate the main fighting in the centre of the board and take advantage of his ability to punch things to death. We rolled off, and I got to place first. I placed one roughly in the centre of the board. I wanted to :
a) Test his ability to determine where the fight would happen, and,
b) Use the advantage of placing 2 to his 1, to try and determine the flow of the battle.
Not just a pretty face**, huh?
With that done, I then had him place 'his' objective defensively. Not really ideal. What Ray failed to capitalise on was that my army is primarily stand-offish, and his is very much an 'in-your-face-beating-it-with-fists' army. Ideally, he should have pushed me deeper into my own half of the board with the objective. Now, I know - you roll for table edge AFTER you finish placing the objectives...but he already had his army out of their cases, and it's kinda convention not to uproot each other for friendly games round here. He would also have then been playing towards the window, with the sun being very much in his face a significant portion of the game. I'd certainly not force my friends to suffer that... ;) My objective was placed in midfield, but extending the theatre of war by placing it closer to the farthest short edge from the last - there were now about 30", as the Falcon flies, between the three Objectives.
Spreading his army in this way minimises the amount he can take advantage of FnP bubbles - making each Priest casualty that much more telling. It also forces him to use his 35 Troops models more aggressively - where my 15 Fire Dragons get a great opportunity to annihilate them. Frankly, Fire Dragons are a pretty big argument against the use of Sang Guard, ever. That, and the fact that they cannot bring their own Chalice...(shitty weapons, and cost being the main others...)
With that part of tactical deployment dealt with, I moved on to rolling for deployment***, and table edge.
Since he won the roll, he opted to go first. Frankly, a mistake - and one I don't think I actually explained, to my (now) chagrin. Ray (and anyone else playing a Reserve army) - you ALWAYS want to choose second****. Going second allows you to respond to the enemy's moves better, and, more importantly - forces people trying to reserve against you to blink first. This helps you bring maximum power against the minimum of their force, to systematically annihilate dangerous elements until the battle is won. Oh, and the small matter of skipping an extra shooting phase of theirs...
Moving on - we both deployed full reserve, with him going first. Both players Turn One was entirely uneventful, ofc. lol. Turn 2, he brought in a RAS, and his Honour Guard. He elected NOT to place Dante with the Honour Guard this time, placing him another RAS (he had 3) while his Libby joined the Sang Guard, and a Priest in each RAS. My list is available HERE.
So, end of his Turn Two, table looked like this. Note - he opted not to re-roll any fails (DoA) because I had nothing to kill yet. Spot on.
(1) RAS with Priest huddled at objective. (2) Honour Guard take shelter behind a rather large building. Nigh impossible to trace LoS from most of my board edge where they are. Note, the units would have been better the other way around. Ray forgot to Run with either unit...so, when this happened -
It was no surprise. Yes, my S9 AP2 Blast killed 9 guys, including the Fist and a Melta. At least, between it and a Pulse Laser, that happened. Think the Laser got one. The other tanks (the Serpents) moved Flat Out. Eldrad was in the Falcon, Yriel in the middle (left) Serpent, with Dragons. Other two are Avengers.
With my heavy hitters on field, and with Dante still to arrive, the next turn would prove critical...
Shrike...I mean...Dante, and his RAS arrived - along with the Sang Guard, and Vanguard. Sadly, the Vanguard had nothing at all to do. None of my guys were out on foot, and they had no Chalice, so weren't even Furious. They 'Struck away from my lines, intent of denying the left objective to me. Area Denial FTW. The Sang Guard dropped behind a building near the right objective (remember, they're Troops) with the Libby for support. Dante, ofc, doesn't strike. So his Meltaguns landed in my face on the right.
The Heavy and Special guys are Meltas. ProxyHammer FTW, no? Night Lords models are Priests, fyi. eventually, the whole army will be them, but it's a WIP.
They whiff it. Fail to even glance my tank. Bad times for Dante.
Yriel goes in, guts come out. The angle of charge and positioning of the DS'd models mean that Dante cannot strike (because I charged with one model!) as he cannot get B2B. The Priest, can - and so can several of the ASM...so I pop my Eye. Six guys are killed, despite FnP, including the Priest. Yata! This rather critical result sees their Ld reduced to 4 - they flee, and I opt, after much hmm'ing, and haw'ing, not to pursue. This pays off, as they are unable to flee far enough to get beyond Yriel's former ride, and flee another turn before being escorted off my another Serpent. lol. Dante forced to flee the field, without taking a wound.
A RAS lands centrally, and takes down a Falcon when multi-charging it and a squad of Fire Dragons who got out to kill enough to hopefully break them (really to slow them ,but - if they'd fled, I could have harried them off too!) Unluckily, the Dragons killed, iirc, one guy. Luckily, they hold in CC, losing none. This combat last through to the end of the next round, when I break, leaving him free rein, in his turn, to wreck another tank, a Serpent this time.
- Note, the Emergency Disembarkation of the Avengers, away from the blocked Access Point, and towards the Objective. ;)
On the left, the Vanguard moved to seek cover behind a building. Sadly for Ray, I had another squad of FDs in Reserve, he hadn't accounted for. Soon, no Vanguard (no Cover Saves+no Storm Shields = Crispy.)
(1) Before... (2) After. lol.
On the right, the Sang Guard and RAS survivors advanced, but Yriel charged the Libby, and, after 2 rounds (3?) killed him, though dying to the squad's weight of attacks afterwards. All the same, the Pulse Laser and Lances warmed up by killing the ASM in front of them, while the Dragons in the Serpent chasing Dante turned back to deal with these upstart Mon-Keigh...
In the middle the Honour Guard had leapt forward to join the fray. They got Prism'd. They did not all die, nor flee - but when they whiffed against a Serpent in CC, it became clear that Ray's remaining 8 models were going to be no match for me in my remaining Shooting Phase - and that he could no longer contest all 3 Objectives I held.
Thinking on the issue now, I wonder if Combat Squadding would have made much difference. I'm also eager to try the list myself, not out of disrespect for Ray, obviously, but because I feel it would give me a better handle on how exactly it is meant to function on the tabletop. Playing against the list, and seeing it in action, is not QUITE the same as using it. Still, we will get there. :)
EDIT: Just for you, Mercer - I won - he conceded at the start of my 5. I had enough shooting left to table him in one round, so he called it quits. This time, I didn't force him to play until the end... ;)
Again, crappy base, I'm working on getting him a proper one that befits Eldrad, but I have so much else to paint...:( Yes, the cloak is freehand. Also, it's too bright, but the black is highlighted codex grey. I've since finished sloppy DA bases, lol.
* - Yes, this pic really came up when I Googled 'Ray'...it was this or Sugar Ray Johnson...
** - Contrary to rumour, this is not me.
*** - Sigh. Alright, honesty. We screwed up a little, actually forgetting to roll deployment until we had both 'deployed'. It didn't matter one bit, we were both all Reserved, but it made for a hilarious interruption to me placing my Grav tanks onto their flying bases in preparation for not deploying any...We did actually roll Pitched Battle anyway, so - lol.
**** - Obviously, there are exceptions...most likely Dawn of War. Giving them a free non-NF shooting phase is not always ideal.