So, I was up against Rob, and he brought his Space Wolves. He showed me his list, and I figured I was about to get my most testing game yet with this army (despite the jokes Rob made about packing up in time to meet his wife for dinner.)
Rob, having Space Wolves, was probably least well equipped to kill flyers. So he actually did what I have been telling people to do for ages with regards flyers. Work around them. Get in close, fast, go for the uppercut.
I naturally wanted that quad gun dead, so dropped a basilisk shell or two on it to make it go away (killing half a squad of Long Fangs in the process) but achieved little else with shooting that turn. In Robs turn 1, he brought in three drop pods, and dropped them right in front of my defence line. Luckily for me, Grimnar and a squad of termies got out - the other two were empty, designed to be LOS blockers. Rob lamented the fact that he hadn't been able to squeaze another empty drop pod into the list as then turn one would have been entirely about blocking LOS and then in subsequent turns use his manned pods to react to my flyers. Of course, with that not being an option, it is my opinion Rob should have dropped all three manned pods down turn 1. Put three squads of terminators right in front of me saying "sure, you got vets and meltaguns and a bunch of other heavy weapons... but you won't get all of us." With most of my army shooting the one squad that got out I killed all bar one of the squad and took two wounds off Grimnar. There is no way in hell I could have handled three squads at once. When my flyers arrived they had to overshoot the target area and take on the backfield long fangs or the flanking bikes (who Rob had cleverly had right at the table edge, meaning large blast markers had a high probability of scattering off the table completely and catching none of the bikes.) Of course with only one squad to deal with in turn 2 it was easy to finish off in turn 3. I then turned my attention to the next nearest squad on turn 4, and claimed the final squad turn 5. My flyers dropped down to turn around and help with terminator killing from turn 4 onwards, and drop troops on objectives, having happily dispatched the last of the long fangs that could have taken the opportunity of a rear armour shot at a hovering valk to ruin my day. By turn 5, we called it, with Rob down to just some drop pods.
I think Robs list was sound, and could have won against me. It was a well thought out list, it just lacked a little in the execution.
For one, while if he'd had three empty pods I agree he could have dropped annoyance pods down turn 1 and used his more effective reserves once he knew where I had committed myself, when he realised that wasn't a possibility he should have dropped all the terminators down turn 1 and gone for the uppercut.
Those empty pods could easily have been dropped near far flung objectives that I may have tried to drop a guard squad on to cause problems, but LOS and movement blocking would probably have been better. Robs deployment of his pods did severely restrict the movement of my ground forces, and even stopped one of my basilisks from engaging his bikes (I couldn't turn to get them into arc of fire because there was a great big pod next to me) and I can't fault him on that. It was just his choice of dropping empties on turn 1 that was the issue.
Alternatively, Rich did make the point that he didn't need to drop the pods empty. He could have dropped them with the fangs in them. Sure they're snap firing if at all on the turn they arrive... probably better just to run to a good position. But you could then place them to get side shots at all my tanks, and be too close to my lines for flyers to engage. Of course then there would be no need for a quad gun and aegis line, but all the quad gun really did was prevent his bikes getting shot on turn 1 (more important target), and his deployment right on the edge of the table may have provided them some protection in that regard also. I'm not too sure what he would have done with the last 100 points mind...
All in all, while this game was heavily in my favour by the end, it was still a strong test. The only game I haven't won with this list was a draw where my opponent had a 1 wound terminator warlord sat contesting my objective, meaning we both had Linebreaker, he had Slay the Warlord and I had First Blood. I had lost a chimera, a unit of vets, and my warlord, he had lost EVERYTHING else. The game ended turn 5 for a draw. Despite that being the best result anyone has got against me, this was by far the toughest game. My flyers had minimal impact as flyers and had to drop to hover mode earlier than I normally would. Rob ducked under my flyer cover and tried to annihalate my ground forces. This is exactly what I have been saying to people who say my list is impossible to beat - don't worry about not being able to kill them. Deny them the game in other ways, with clever movement. Rob had a good plan, and a good list. He just made a slight mistake. With the same match up, I am sure he would do much better. Luckily, this tournament is running an FA cup style knockout, not a champions league style knockout. Otherwise I would definitely have been looking to try to sit on a Victory Points lead from round one and merely survive the return leg...
In other news, Rich H defeated the Necrons, and Scotts Tyranids swarmed the Relic before the Dark Angels could get anywhere near it. If that was some clue on the Fallen, it has been digested by now. I'll try to get more details on these games when I can, and on who wins the postponed game between Rich F and Jason.
Finally, we have a late entrant to the field. Turning up at the last minute with a Salamanders list, Simon takes the wildcard spot so is lined up for a game against Rich A. This is quite an even match-up and were Rich A using Chaos I would expect him to emerge victorious. However he is using his guard, which I see him play with far less. Therefore I am changing my prediction to one that Simon will make it through at Richs expense. But don't take anything as written here - I only got two out of three right so far, and in my own game I got a far tougher test than I imagined I would...