Well, let's get this out of the way - he beat me, soundly. 2-0, in C&C. Now, the issue of the title comes in here...he didn't play flawlessly, though he did play well. He didn't have a fully optimised list that you guys would necessarily approve of...but it was a fairly solid list. Tweaks, rather than sweeping changes. The issue comes in trying to identify how much of the game was down to player skill, without wanting to seem ungracious - I don't want to pontificate here like some sort of 40k Alex Ferguson.
He deserved to win, because he played better than me - I went for a killer punch in turn 2, that, if successful, stood to leave him almost unable to contest my objective, and forced to castle up for the draw.
Hopefully, then, I don't sound like a sore loser when I say that although we both suffered from dreadful terrain (worst I've ever experienced? Almost certainly.) I suffered more, as I had more in the way of ranged shooting. The big 'fuck-off' LOS blocks in each corner was, in the end, worse than the board before we let Mark shift the terrain, sadly.
The mission, was the 'draw-mission' with VPs for ties, though I have no complaints whatsoever, about it - I mention it in the interests of transparency.
The dice? Well, on my first turn, things went swimmingly. Perhaps I did slightly better than average that turn, but, as I'm sure he will agree, I didn't really need to, I had clear shots on both those Oblits, and that Rhino. It perhaps sounds unfair and ungracious to say I rolled poorly most of the rest of the game - but I did. I don't think the dice being average would have been enough to let me win, but it would have made a significant difference to my play, and certainly mentality.
His tactics? Well, he made an error deploying those Oblits right in front of my guns, 4+ Cover or no, and I think he should have placed the DPs on the board from the start behind the left flank Rhinos, to force me to have a choice of which to kill, especially since my deployment wasn't as great as I thought at the time. I also think the GD maybe should have ignored the Serpent the turn it took the turret off (the second one) and gone for my Objective - but it worked out for him anyway, so it's very much a wash. Deploying the almost-useless Plasma squad, and the Vindicator there, was spot on. lol A nightmare for me to try and deal with - though I forgot they weren't Melta on my 3rd Turn, and should have gone for it - I was worried about the Oblits DS'ing behind my lines, and getting rear shots. I perhaps played to conservatively there.
My tactics? Well, this is it. Is it possible to say that I think I lost more because of what I did than the opponent's actions? That, despite his set-up being good, if I'd trusted to my guns I might have been able to do what I tried (and failed) to do? His list has a resilience that survives the loss of their Transports, especially when he gets to trade them 1-for-1 with mine. Mine really does not, and, for the first time in a long time, I think I'd have played those tactics better with Marines. Weird.
I think there are several reasons I cocked up, hopefully he will read this and comment on whether or not he agrees, lol.
- Too cocky on T2 following the destruction of his Oblits Turn 1.
- Overextension of my force, by trying to pincer despite you still being a good 24" or so from my objective - no need to be so aggressive on my left.
- Rolling 1s and 2s to hit with Fire Dragons, lol.
- Putting myself in a situation where I minimised my tank-fire against the smoked Rhino, forcing my Fire Dragons to have to try for both targets.
- Failure to castle, aimlessly zooming Grav Tanks with no target to get Cover against 2nd Oblit squad when they didn't even arrive...
- Overcommitting to the push on his objective - both Bright Lances would have been better employed in defensive roles.
- Failure to push on towards his objective early enough, too afraid of the Oblits that, in the end, where deployed somewhere I really should have predicted - near a flipping Icon!
I'll add some photos of the game to this post later - for now, I'm going to continue to run over the game in my head, and try and pick out mistakes to learn from.
Remember - there is only ever any shame in losing if you should have won convincingly. Losing sucks, and I enjoy it less than perhaps most people...but I always do my damnedest to be a good sport. I knew I had lost (way) before his final turn even began, and we were quite pushed for time, but conceding would have been rude. He played well, and fully deserved the result, he capitalised well on my mistakes, and forced my target priority* well. Especially with my rolling, lol. Maybe, if those DA Serps had had Stones, and/or if the fleeing Dragons had killed the DP...but if wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak. Except me, I'm vegetarian...but even so. I'd be offered steak. Horse steak. With mint sauce. Um...what are we talking about? Oh yeah, me, my fav subject. lol
I lost, because I played worse than him, more than he played better, if that makes sense.
At least, that's how I see it - I may have my judgement clouded by partisanship, and I certainly hope it's clear enough that I not only mean no disrespect, but respect his ability to force the issue, and dominate the game in the end. The second half of the game was all him, no question.
I hope this comes across in the way intended. Feedback please guys.
* - A quick note on forcing target priority, for the uninitiated - this is simply the practice of being in a dominant tabletop position, so that the opponent has no option about shooting things that are a greater threat to their long-term chances in the match than the thing they are going to shoot instead. This is why Lone Wolves, Mephiston, Zoanthropes, Chaos Winged DPs etc are so good (apart from the obvious...) - these units are usually killy enough that they simply cannot be ignored. If they get up into the opponent's face, they are put in the unenviable position of focus firing on these undesirable targets, while your own army gets to shoot whatever the hell it wants. Sadly, the Eldar don't have many options for this role...Harlequins, but they're costly and fragile in CC...and Seer Councils. I've stated my opinion on THEIR future already this week, so I refer you to the post below.