I went to visit my friend Ken for an apoc weekend. 5000 point game, my guard vs his black templars. Ken has a couple of titans. They're always a pain in the arse. I've come up with several cunning ploys over the years to bring them down, but have usually not had much success. I have taken "junior" out on one occassion (a mere warhound) but never reaver. So here we go again.
In the past I've tried tunnels and meltaguns, flank march and chainfists, shadowswords (aka bullet magnets) thunderbolts and vortex grenades. This time I have a new tactic - nothing! I decided to ignore them. To pretend they weren't there. Rather than waste my firepower at these things that just WILL NOT DIE... shoot something else. Course they can still make their points back, killing a couple of baneblades a turn. So let's limit their damage potential. No baneblades.
Adding up the tanks I had, I realised with my minimum of infantry I wanted, a few assassins, and my battle tanks... I was over 6000 points. Hmm, rethink required.
So I went for an infantry HORDE. 300ish infantry. NO tanks. In fact only two vehicles in the entire army (valkyries) My basic plan was to have 2 huge amalgamated squads of guard, 50 strong, one made fearless by Yarrick the other Ld9 stubborn by a Lord Commissar. They were to hold my home objectives. I had another platoon with defence lines to try to keep Kens templars further away. Plenty of missile launcher and lascannon armed heavy weapon squads, about 5 demo charge squads to give ken something to think about. I also had the Straken bomb loaded in a valkyrie, a penal legion squad in a valkyrie for a late game objective grab, and some deep striking storm troopers to help clear Ken off an objective. I had three psyker battle squads ready to weaken Kens resolve (gotta love that rule on Black Templars) and several units of ratlings to try to give them a reason to run. I also had 5 Callidus assassins for the fun they bring, and a vindicare with some spare points. I also brought 3 Primaris Psykers, wanting to test the model out, having never used one before. I assigned one to each 50 man mob, hoping Nightshroud would spare them some heat for a while.
We were playing a fifth edition apoc amalgamation. Only troops would count as scoring, but they'd have to be over half strength. (Knowing this would technically make my 50 man mob no longer count as scoring once they were down to 24, I HAD to take Hold At All Costs. This made EVERY troop choice guardsmen on the table scoring. So about 250 of them then...) We'd bid time for setup, the loser would have the opportunity to sieze the initiative.
Ken bid three minutes (I'd kept quiet about my army composition whilst I bid 30. I was planning on going second (though would sieze the initiative if given the chance.) He put down his army. I put down my horde. I kept the Callidus assassins, the psyker battle squads, the storm troopers and the valkyries (flying) in reserve, plus a few demo charge squads I was lost for where to place. I failed to sieze the initiative, but my word in Kens ear did have good results. I moved his term squad back into difficult terrain, and likewise with both landraiders and a rhino. I also moved a predator behind a building. One of the land raiders then immobilised itself trying to get out of the terrain. Result!
Kens titans were still effective. He butchered 40+ guardsmen in the first turn alone. The plasma balstgun was bad enough (hard to claim cover from something so high) but the str D was annoying as hell. Sure, not as valuable a target as a baneblade, but touch it and they're dead. It was annihalating my heavy squads and command squads fairly effectively. He took out my command that was to support my lines with commands (and one of the primaris psykers) and generally moved towards me.
Trying to stem the tide of fire I hoped nightshroud would help. THis would need Ken to pass a Ld test to target my big squads. Sure it'd be on Ld 10, but if you make someone roll the dice they'll eventually fail, and if it spares me one turn shooting that's something. So Yarricks squad first,Primaris Psyker... double 6. Yarrick muttered something about it being for his own good and blew his brains out. Unlucky. Other squad... double 6! The Lord Commissar muttered "What Yarrick said" and blew his brains out. Right. Well that 140 points was useful, good to give that new unit a good field test!
The next couple turns was Ken butchering guardsmen every chance he got. I did get some effective revenge on turn two, when Psyker battle squads weakened the resolve of a couple units... while a Callidus popped up next to them with her Str 8 against Ld AP1 flame template... This and the following charge wiped out two of Kens four scoring units, and seriously pulled the teeth from one of his terminator squads. Yarrick got up from being given a cuddle by a dread to take out another scoring unit. Turn 3 saw Marbo and the storm troopers take down a couple of the others, while Yarricks foolhardy charge saw the inevitable result. This time he didn't get up. But on turn 4 my Straken bomb dealt with Kens last scoring unit. He now could only draw at best. Of course, there wasn't much left on my side either. The turns were going quite quickly so we decided to play it fifth edition standard - at the end of turn 5 roll a dice, see if there's a turn 6.
Ken carried on trying to finish off my scoring units. Unbeknownst to him I had another in the valkyrie just flying round, keeping out of trouble, and taking the occassional shot at the predator to clear an objective for me to land on. At the end of turn 5 I believe ALL the objectives were contested. In turn 6 he wiped out all the scoring units I had left on the table, apart from a heavy weapon team that was too close to his drop pod for his titans to target. They then sprinted for the central objective to claim it. Knowing they could make it, I positioned my valkyrie so that, if there was a turn 7 and he killed those brave soldiers, I could drop my penal legion squad on an empty objective and claim the win. As it is, the dice came up short, we finished the game at the end of turn 6, the score being Guard:1 Templars:0
Looking at the aftermath, I had a heavy weapons team on the table. I had a Callidus assassin that had been too far away to influence anything. And I had a valkyrie, carrying a penal legion squad, and a Lord COmmissar (wanted them to stick around if I was gonna go for a late objective grab!) Just under 500 points, from 5000. Ken had 2 dreads, 4 terminators, an immobilised Crusader, a predator, damocles rhino, couple drop pods, and oh yeah, a warhound and a reaver. From forces remaining he was in the stronger position. But I had won. Looking back, I hadn't exactly planned it this way, but I hadn't fired a single shot at his titans. I'd figured the heavy weapon teams could try to shoot them later, but the priority was his transports, get his troopers in the open by the time my Callidus' arrived. By the time I'd dealt with his transports, he'd dealt with my heavy weapons! 5000 points of guard firing at 3000 points of marines, I'd managed to kill off the parts that mattered. The scoring units. In my army I had 250 scoring men, Ken had about 40. I like incorporating fifth edition into apoc, as it encourages people to actually take some troops in their armies. I think Ken will bear that in mind next time we play, and will have more bodies on the ground that are scoring units.
Also from this, flyers are great against Templars. They have NO effective anti air. The titans couldn't shoot me as long as I was flying, and with me concentrating on his other forces he had little else in the way of fire support. I need to paint my vendettas by the next time I play. 9 lascannons that the titans can't hurt? That sounds like Pims o'clock!