Weekly Battle: Deflation & Evaluation

Battle: DeflateAfter last week’s match up against an IG Air Cavalry force, the player wanted to rematch this week to redeem his honor. This time he brought his Black Templars, which was cool since I’ve never faced them.

We rolled up capture & control with pitched battle deployment, he took first turn. In short, his list was a big foot list with a single pod for Crusaders and lots of Termies. I brought the same list I played in our last battle.

I’m abridging the report, and the following, since my focus on this article is elsewhere. I was able to get Shrike + ASM forward and they took out 2 x 5-man Crusader Squads on his back line before going down. While I pushed my offensive he was pushing his with 10 Termies with Grimaldus and some Servitors on my right flank, while I was running his left. He also had a large Squad of Crusaders running down the center. In the end his offensive was far more potent than mine and he cleared me off my objective while I just missed taking him off his.

Second game was against Ming and his Ultras. He ran Kantor in a mech heavy list. We got annihilation with dawn of war and I got first turn. I took some big losses early thanks to an orbital bombardment and a Vindicator but I rallied back pretty well to take the lead, pushing into his castled up vehicles. Highlight: my Assault Termies taking fire from Tact Squad x 10, Tact Squad x 5, Sternguard x 5, a Rhino, a Razorback or two, and a Land Raider and not failing a single armor or invulnerable save.

My offensive was slowly beaten down with combined fire and I lost the game by one kill point. If only Shrike made his invulnerable save…

What I learned was that the list I’ve been messing with is way more reliant on first turn than I’d like. I did get it in my second game but dawn of war deployment hosed my ability to get Shrike & ASM forward. My list is very short ranged and offensive, so the more time I spend moving forward the less damage I’m doing obviously. Also, as was the case in both games, I don’t have enough punch to hold the ground my offensive units gain.

So, I’m back to the drawing board again. I’m still happy with the concept of my lists but it needs tweaking. The big question I find myself asking is this: do I build the list to cover my weaknesses to try and strike a balance or do I commit fully to an offensive fleet army? I understand the downsides to the latter but at the same time, if I do it well enough would that help compensate for the weaknesses?

  • TheRhino

    When I left, you were still rolling those ASM through the left flank of the Templars. Did you run into too many power weapons, or something? get caught in the wind after clearing out a squad, and taking shooting casualties?
    I didn’t see that Land Raider moving around. Was it immobilized?
    Honestly, I still feel that you’re doing the Shrike thing in half-measures. Your tactical squads aren’t assault units unless they’re pounding on Gaunts or Guardsmen. Fleeting them doesn’t add much to your game plan.
    The Devastators, while great fire support, are static and benefit not at all from Shrike. I’m guessing those Templar Terminators ended up multi-charging them along with the Land Raider, and rolling them to a man, yes?
    The Redeemer probably had little to no effect on the Terminators that targeted it, right? It’s an awesome tank, but it really has to be moving forward toward targets it can auto-kill to be worth it. The Crusader or the Phobos patterns can hang out and shoot, since they have the blessing of massive firepower, or strong weapons.
    That big landing pad was a bugger for you, what with all the Templars parked on top of it, and you having to climb up to get them.

    Giving an entire army Fleet begs for an all-assault force. Only three units in your army really benefit from it. The Terminators (who honestly don’t really need it, being carried in a Land Raider), the ASM, and the Scouts. Devs and tacticals actually become WORSE when given Fleet. They lose the ability to fall back on command, which helps them stay alive and shooting.

    I know youlike the Assault phase, and are trying to use Shrike to get to it faster. I’d honestly aim for more Scouts, in large squads, with a mix of shotguns and pistol/blade. When available, you can infiltrate them forward to put the melee pressure on early. When not viable (say, against a mech force), hunker them down and use Fleet as an impetus for a countercharge.

    An Infiltrator-heavy list is tricky to pull off, as it relies heavily on table terrain, and enemy composition. It’s unfortunately the price we have to pay for the ability.

    • Let’s see:

      ASM eventually went down to fire power after taking out the 2 x 5-man squads. My LR I used way too defensively and paid for it. My right flank folded but not as quickly or as brutally as you’d think.

      I agree about the half measures and that’s what I’m trying to fix. That’s what I was questioning, is it a matter of go big or go home? I can build a list that makes better use of fleet but is that commitment going to blow up in my face? Hell, can I find an aggressive assault list that doesn’t use Shrike? I’m not opposed to it, though it’s tough to give up fleet when you’ve grown accustomed to it.

      • TheRhino

        Well, the first thing anyone will tell you if you go for an all-out infiltrating assault list with Marines is “You’ll have no anti-tank!”.
        Partially true. You’ll have little melta, and not much concentrated firepower like 4-ML Devs. However, Scouts can pack missile launchers, but one-per-squad, and at crappy BS.
        Your antitank will have to end up on speeders, and every squadron of speeders you buy cuts into your allotment of Assault Marines or Vanguard or whatnot.
        You might also look at Predators. They can hang out together in a firebase setup, or ride shotgun to your land Raider.
        Dreads with a single antitank gun, and their DCCW certainly aren’t hard-core assault units, but can cut open transports so your Scouts and ASM can get at the units inside.

        If you want a pure-Shrike force, and are sticking with Scouts and ASM/Vanguard, you’re looking at lots of meltabombs, grenades, and powerfists scattered around your army. You can also sneak plasma pistols into various squads as well,though most folks hate those because they cost so much.

        Scout bikes with AGLs are something you tried before, right? How did those turn out? Did you outflank them every time, or deploy them on-table if you had first turn and try for a volley of grenades after a Scout move?

        • Still tinkering with list ideas, however the idea is to make my offense more reliable, something I’m lacking right now, and to increase my fire base. I have a list I’ll test out and see how it pans out on the table.

          I’m not aiming for a pure Shrike force. It can start getting a little too Blood Angel-like for me but lacking their prowess. Plus, mine is a counts-as, so no need to adhere to any Raven Guard like styles either.

          I ordered some Scout Bikers but won’t have what I need in time for the tournament unfortunately. I ran them in two games the other week and they did well for me. First game I got first turn and infiltrated them. They put out a ton of fire power (AGL x 3, TL-bolters x 2), but Jeremy made a crazy amount of saves and forced me to assault him to destroy him. Second game I got second turn and scout-boosted them and forced him to spend almost his entire army’s shooting to deal with them. They died but it allowed the rest of my army to advance safely and tear him open.

      • Anonymous

        BT horde armies might just be a tough match-up for you Thor. Preferred enemy is a solid advantage, even if you do end up getting the charge.

        Actually, with the new BT FAQ out, they have gained a significant boost in power.

%d bloggers like this: