Continuing into week #3 for the campaign at the LGS I was paired off against a Chaos Marine player. The game was seize ground with pitched battle deployment and a few catches. First, terrain features were nominated as objectives. Second, as the defender (the Imperial side having lost last week), I had to deploy my entire army first and then the attacker got to decide if he wanted first or second turn.
I put everything out all on the right flank, using a large wall to shield most of my army. He deployed spread across his zone but focusing on the right as there were four of the five objectives here. He decided to take first turn and I failed to seize.
Now, his army was MSU and packing a crap-ton of melta. Having to deploy my entire army meant I wasn’t able to infiltrate Monthu (aka: Shrike), and my Assault Marines. Now, I don’t depend on it but not having the option to infiltrate or outflank really forced my hand in how I had to approach the game. My plan was simple, keep him at range and use my range to take out his mobility and send in my assault units to clean up.
The game was simple awesome. Neither of us was able to take an advantage for long. It was a constant back and forth fight. The opening round he took out four of my five Devastators, leaving me a single missile and then next turn I lost one of my two Land Speeders, severely crippling my ability to deal with him at range. I then got my Assault Termies out of their Land Raider, popped a Rhino and multi-charged the Chaos Marines with Sorcerer and a Predator and destroyed it all. Over the next few turns he took out the Assault Terminators. I retaliated by removing more of his armor and thinning down squads.
The entire game went that way, an eye for an eye and we were both playing tactically sound. Then in a moment of utter brain shutdown I lost the game. We played a full seven turns. Had the game ended on turn #5 we’d have drawn. Turn #6 would have given him a victory. Turn #7 was my chance to pull out a draw.
Here’s how it went down. He was holding one objective I could not reach. He had a second objective I was contesting with Assault Marines and he had one Chosen contesting an objective. The one I was contesting and he was contesting were about 12″ apart. Now, I had my Tactical Squad in a combat in the board center. What needed to happen was for me to remove the one Chosen on my objective, my Tactical Squad to win combat and consolidate enough to reach the objective the Chosen was at and to continue to contest the other objective. If the plan went correctly I’d draw but I screwed up.
Instead of keeping my ASM contesting the objective I sent them after the lone Chosen. My brain overloaded with the knowledge I had to remove the Chosen and I put almost all available resources to that task. In doing so I lost the match. The Tacts won combat and consolidated to the objective where my ASM removed the Chosen but without contesting that other objective I only held one to his two.
There’s two ways I could have done this correctly. One, keep the ASM where they were contesting and use my Predator to shoot down the Chosen, Tacts consolidate onto objective. Two, move ASM to engage the Chosen and move the Predator to contest the objective, Tacts again consolidate onto objective. I instead had chosen the third failing option. You see, I had last turn on turn #7.
I can’t stop kicking myself over this. I pride myself on being able to see all the moving parts and being able to put them together into a working machine. To be able to string together the required actions needed in a desperate struggle to come out on top, or at least not lose. Instead of seeing the whole picture I become overly concerned with one aspect of an entire plan and let it fall apart. That is the lesson I learned, or more precisely reinforced through error.
All that being said, it was an incredible game. I have not had a game that close in a long time. I’ve had plenty of good games but not so many with neither side truly taking an advantage, with the dice being consistent on both sides and both players struggling for the small gains they made. The only flaw in the game was my own mistake and as hard as I am on myself for it, it was a valuable lesson.