The new kid in the guard took on the old dog (well, ape) Ginge last night. The old guard carried the day.
I detailed the army lists a few days ago in this post so read through if you need your memory refreshing. I wrote my army list planning to use the Eradicator and Hellhound to lay some hurt on key targets. His heavy weapon squads and his feel no pain command squad. I'd assumed he'd be taking a feel no pain command sqaud, a touch of the old nurgle as a comfort to him :oP Being as Eradcicator and Hellhound are both Str 6, they ignore Feel No Pain on guardsmen, both ignore cover, and both are capable on instant killing the heavy weapon teams (that now count as two wound models) on a 2+ I was hoping to get rid of more of his Lascannon squads with my Punisher, and use my vanquisher and possibly some Chimeras as shields for these three key tanks until I'd taken out his Lascannons. Once he was down to Missile Launchers at my front Armour (glances only) I could afford to be a bit more cavalier. Of course, no plan survives contact with the enemy. Mine didn't survive contact with the table. Chris won first turn in a Spearhead Take and Hold. I went back home to collect the Hellhound I'd forgotten while he was setting up, and eventually he was finished. With where his heavy squads were deployed I had a very limited amount of spaces I could hide my tanks from his (quite excellently placed) fields of fire. Also my Eradicator wouldn't be able to target his command squad (I wanted that dead asap, as it would be messing with my reserves) so in the end I deployed the Punisher, Hellhound, and a Chimera and kept the rest in reserve. I figured I'd need something to deal with his outflanking Al Rahem platoon... not to mention the fact that until his valkyrie showed up there wasn't much for my Vanquisher to do.
Chris moved towards the empty building in my half of the field, in the empty quarter. He says he wanted to occupy this building as a good firing position, but his run rolls let him down. His veterans showed up and pegged my Hellhound. The resulting explosion of full promethium tanks killed half his squad. The rest of his army fired upon my smoke protected chimera (whose purpose was to give the hellhound some cover - Doi!) and eventually cracked it and killed the Veterans inside. My Sentinals turned up and attacked the Valkyrie. A H/K missile brought it down, whilethe Heavy flamers I'd "optimistically" fired at it too just happened to catch the remainder of his veterans squad... My Valkyrie also showed up, and threw some Rocket Pod love around, while sheltering behind a building from the sheer amount of firepower Chris could put out.
Al Rahem showed up, but thanks to us messing with each others reserves and the "can't reroll a reroll" rule he arrived on the wrong side. Havingbeen informed that his army had rearranged roadsigns to confuse the enemy, he followed the "wrong" signs. As it turned out, my army had corrected the roadsigns, in their efforts to confuse the enemy. In summary, no one knew where the hell anything was or where they were supposed to be going! So they started the lonely jog towards my objective.
When my reserves arrived, I brought a couple of squads of vets on in their chimeras to block most heavy weapon teams LOS to my Eradicator, which managed to do some damage to the Lascannon building in the centre of Chris lines (sheltering 9 Lascannon teams! - oh to be able to blow up a ruin!) My second penal legion squad (the first had assault lasguns, then charged the enemy. From 40 Str 3 shooting combat attacks, I caused 3 wounds. Which Chris saved all of. Very forgettable, and why I haven't mentioned them before now... I forgot!) arrived on the wrong side of the battlefield looking hopelessly lost so I sent them to claim my objective, meaning my Veterans were free to intercept Al'Rahem. Meanwhile, Straken left his Valkyrie and started kicking arse and taking names amongst the guardsmen around him. I deliberately charged a commissar equipped squad, who promplty held due to Stubborn. The other squad needed a double 1 to stay in the fight... and duly rolled it! Oh well, the more the merrier that keeps my command squad from getting shot!
Over the course of a couple of punishing turns for both sides...
Chris pegged the Nova Cannon off my Eradicator. Irritating Bastard! Marbo finally woke up and dropped his demo charge, and was slaughtered by mass lasgun fire in reply. I flamed Al'Rahem and a squad. Chris mowed down my veterans. Chris charged and stripped my Eradicator (leaving a weaponless box on bricks... didn't know Al'Rahem and co were scouse...) which then left his men nicely bunched up for my veterans to flame... they were then cut down by mass lasgun fire. My penal legion moved into a very spread out position based roughly around my objective. Chris mortared them a few times to get their attention. The vanquisher proved slightly useful by Instant killing a couple of heavy weapon teams (which was thus 33% casualties and a morale check) while Straken worked his way along the enemy backline muching his way thorugh squad after squad.
By turn 5 it was looking favourable for me. I had a valkyrie escorting a unit off the board, Straken on the objective, and several fleeing weapon teams all under half strength (three of which I broke in turn 5) My objective was safely held. but we had a turn 6. Chris had a stern choice - deal with Straken and reclaim his objective, or mortar me off mine. He tried to kill Straken, but a Feel No Pain squad in cover is difficult to shift. He moved an infantry squad out towards my objective, while everything that could see Straken shot at him. On my turn 6 I moved Straken out of cover to kill off the mortar squads that could theoretically claim the objective for Chris. I killed his command squad too. The valk took Strakens contesting position just in case. And my chimera backtracked so as to place itself between Chris squad and my objective. After killing his mortars, I decided to be bold. Instead of contesting his objective in cover, I struck out across open ground, placing my squad between the objective and the only scoring unit that could hope to reach it. We got a turn 7.
With Straken out in the open several krak missiles found their mark and severely depleted his squad. Straken, the priest and the medic held out though, and took out the last scoring unit on Chris side of the board inmy assault phase. The valkyrie fired some rocket pods at some infantry, but by then it was all over. My penal legionnaires claimed my objective, there was nothing left near Chris objective, and a somewhat battered infantry platoon occupying a building in No mans land was all that was left of Chris army. To be fair, I only had a battered and bloody Straken and the remnants of his command squad, a valkyrie, vanquisher, chimera and penal leigon squad. 4 out of 5 of my scoring units were dead.
A few pointers for Chris. Remembering Orders. I've already mentioned this one, and am not so familiar with it myself and often forget too. I also questioned how much use he got out of his platoon in no mans land, but he explained his plan to occupy the building but was let down by poor run rolls. Course then my tanks turned up and he wanted his missile launchers firing. He is now rethinking heavy weapons in basic squads, as they do tie a unit down. I've been swearing by that strategy for years.
Another thing I have since though of... putting all the lascannons in that building. Yes, it gave them a good vantage point. Yes, they had good cover. But they also all had the same field of fire. I reduced the squad that was in a different position to one team on my first turn. After that I could move my Leman Russ Chassis vehicles more freely. Missile Launchers don't worry them, lascannons do. If he'd put his Lascannons in different places to get more overlapping fields of fire, he would have caused me some more problems.
The only other thing I have since thought of... he took out 4 of my 5 scoring units. If he'd concentrated his mortars on taking out the fifth, I couldn't possibly win. He could then have tried to kill Straken or lure him away from the objective and brought his platoon back to swamp me... but worst case scenario it's a draw. In objective games guard armies rarely have to worry about not having enough scoring units. Other armies do. In this game, I did have a small supply of scoring units. I protected them by keeping several in reserve. But it's always something to consider. When I look at an objective game, I see what scoring units he has. Often with a guard army it's easier (with ordnance) to decimate 12" around his objective than to stop him from getting a sick assault squad in to contest yours. You can then have an outflanking penal squad or a squad in a valkyrie swoop in through the battered and twisted landscape to claim theirs.
In the end, Chris did well against, quite frankly, his worst possible opponent. Sure, I wasn't quite equipped to deal with horde guard (those guys who brought meltabombs felt a little ridiculous it has to be said) but I do know guard. I know the danger squads, I know the fields of fire. I am better positioned than most to minimise the amount of damage he could do to me, while knowing the perfect areas I could strike to do damage to him.
Overall, a good fun game. I look forward to what Chris comes up with next. But for gods sake, buy some tanks!