Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Back to my Roots

As the name of this blog may suggest, I was once a guard player, although it may be hard to imagine given the amount of Orks I have done of late,but it's true.

Last night I dug out the old guard to try out their new codex. What can I say... ouch!

Having heard that conscripts and cheap smite spam are the way to go according to the tournament scene, I wanted to avoid that route entirely. I also wanted to take a fully painted army for my inaugural game (much harder with my guard than Orks, for one the guard were always my played with army, so I have a lot that was speedily built with no consideration of later painting practicality, two it was from an earlier time, meaning a lot of what is painted is... of a quality that wouldn't make my display shelf to say the least. Plus it's spread across different colour schemes, styles, model and paint ranges. I have two styles of Cadians and about three styles of Catachans, which while I have a plan to broadly bring into one colour scheme, will take quite some time...

So I started off with taking a Catachan regiment, because they're who I started with. Their benefit is +1 str on infantry, which is fantastic and fluffy and suits catachan units down to the ground - when I first started playing it was catachans, the infantry was WS4, I played combat guard... it didn't work very well, but occasionally would pull off a surprise or two as a Hive Tyrant recoils as the puny humans run towards it... think it died of shock more than anything else...

However, the other part of the doctrine is that veicles can reroll 1D6 for their random number of shots. Which makes tanks awesome. Which bugs me. We shouldn't make tanks awesome for Catachans. They were always the footsloggers. If this same rule had, instead of applying to vehicles, applied to infantry and sentinals, it would have made their mortars and flamers/heavy flamers more effective, which would have suited the style of the army background perfectly.

Instead it makes tanks stronger, possibly too strong if last night game is anything to go by.

So, playing to the cards I'd been dealt, I built a Catachan mechanised company of sorts. two pairs of wyverns for fire support, a tank commander in demolisher, 4 basic squads with flamers in chimeras, a squadron of 3 leman russ. a company commander with kurovs aquilla. Had some spare points so upgraded the second company commander to Straken. Took a Hellhound too. And to round things out took 2 astropaths (what else are you gonna do with a spare 35 points?)

I was up against Robbie Guillemon leading Ultramarines (for a change) the army consisted broadly of Robbie, dread, big dread, devastator squad with 4 grav cannon (combat squaded, 2 in each) 2 primaris troop squads, primaris plasmagun squad, 10 reavers, a tactical squad (combat squaded) a librarian, captain and lieutenant.

I had the first turn. Now I will say that I was rolling pretty hot... each time I rolled a 1 for number of shots and used the Catachan reroll ability I invariably got 6 shots instead... but even so...

My opponent wanted to hand me the game before I'd finished my first shooting phase.

In that phase, I had killed both halves of the devastator squad, all the plasmaguns, one of the primaris squads, and half the tactical marines. He had the dreads and characters that could kill my tanks in combat, and a lascannon and a metlagun, but other than that he had very little left that had a realistic chance of hurting me, and he had a long walk ahead of him.

Having no other models with me, I offered an instant rematch, perhaps letting him change his army if he had anything, or at the very least going into the storeroom for more line of sight blocking scenery, but he gamely decided to carry on regardless.

Now at this point, I eased up because jesus after that who wants to completely crush someone. He'd forgotten to take his morale tests for his survivors, but I let it go. And tactically my gameplan had been to slowly retreat the leman russes (at half speed) while maintain a punishing volley of fire from them, but under the circumstances I decided to hold position and let Robbie advance on me, as my second round of shooting saw off both dreads and a few straggling infantry. Even this worked in my favour. I'd managed to take one wound off Robbie. He charged my leman russes. Killed two. Jammed that flaming sword right into the fuel tank of one of them. Uh oh. Boom. Took three mortal wounds off him. No matter, on he goes, and next turn charges the wyvern that had been causing him such grief. Jammed that flaming sword right into that fuel ta... uh oh. Boom. Three more mortal wounds from Robbie. Took his last wounds in overwatch from the other wyvern. He then got up (we're not sure if he could, because he'd used a CP reroll on his failed armour save, unsuccessfully, and his get back up is at the end of the phase, so technically that means same phase so it can't be used right? Under the circumstances we allowed him to anyway, and he got back up with 3 wounds) The next turn he tried to charge the wyvern again, lost three wounds to overwatch fire, 2 of them from 3 shots from the Heavy Flamer. At the end of turn 5 he surrendered. He was down to two characters on a combined total of three wounds, was losing 19-6 on VP, and the next turn I could retreat my guardsmen from combat and lay into those characters with a demolisher and 3 wyverns. It wouldn't have ended well for them.

Actually, Drive me Closer, I want a Primarch to hit me with HIS sword seems the more effective strategy
I suppose I should do some more games before I pass judgement, but DAYUM that was brutal, too brutal. I stand by my original assessment that the rule, applied to infantry, would a) suit the fluff more and b) not be quite so devastating. Even just a mortar comparison. Being able to reroll 1D6 of 1D6 on a str 4 gun, meh no real harm. Being able to reroll the only 1 you rolled out of 4D6 that is str 4 and rerolls wounds, far worse. Getting a reroll on those str 5 heavy flamers on that sentinel is a different kettle of fish to getting a reroll on the amount of str10 BS3 (with an order to reroll 1s) demolisher cannon shots!

On the flip side, a little part of me did find it gratifying to bring that smug son of a bitch primarch down. For too long he's been marching around the battlefield singing "raindrops keep falling on my head..." as my mortars do absolutely nothing to him. I stand by him being too good, but now Guard tanks are too good, and while he basically killed himself this game (doing 6w out of 11 to himself) I can at least take away all those protective bodies that stop me targeting him in fairly short order...


  1. I've been enjoying the Guard codex too. Can't wait till I can get them on the table (will need to be in the near year unfortunately, they are currently in Glasgow on a well-earned break!).

  2. Hmm, is this the start of Codex creep again, the newest shiny Codex trumps all that go before it? Eldar will once again triumph and others fall to wayside....

    1. I don't know... I like that they give different flavours and it gives me hope that I'll have such variety to play with when the ork codex is eventually released. It could be a case of the system being in flux till a majority are released. When you've been strolling around with invincible Robbie fighting index armies, then suddenly you face an army that has a new codex, perhaps it is a shock to the system. Perhaps it can be adjusted to. I don't know how strong it is, hell from what I've read online I was playing it wrong, I only had 4 squads of 10, most of what I see calls for about 90 conscripts alone. Maybe next time they'll approach the game differently. Long range firepower was somewhat lacking in my opponents army, 4 grav cannons and a single lascannon. He was relying on getting Robbie into combat, and marines walking towards a line of leman rushes... hell, in what edition has that ever been a good idea?

  3. Sounds like a wholly appropriate rule for my army.

    And also for a blog called 'need more tanks' (?)

    1. The blog name was inspired by my early days attempts to use the Catachan codex... where the heavy support was provided by Sentinels. There were no lascannon. Although you had some great special rules for fighting in jungle terrain... as you look across the gw landscape of two hills, a single forest, and a stone circle. Ah...

      Need More Tanks was the advice offered so many times by people suggesting how I could improve the army. It was a point of exasperation and eventually I caved and went straight guard and just took Catachan infantry and colour scheme inspiration. The blog was named for that refrain. Then a year or so after starting the blog I launched a Tale, and decided to try a second army, Orks... I'd describe myself as more of an ork player nowadays, although I do have nostalgia for the guard, the Catachan especially.

      I'm not saying the rule is not effective, it clearly is... just from a fluff point of view, it narrowly misses the mark. It's like in 7th Ed, they brought out a formation that gave guard infantry working with close sentinel support the ability to advance more quickly into enemy territory, made them better at moving through Cover, allowed them to fire on the move, and was part of a larger decision style thing that made excellent use of ogryns, a kindred spirit to Catachan... that was the mont'ka book, and those were Chadian formations. Again, so close, and I suppose I could run an army and call it Catachan, I just better not hope to use Straken in that army. Aaaargh!

      Anyway, I like the codex, it has some cool flavours, overall I approve... just that minor bugbear that niggles my fluff senses, and also kind pounds the crap outta people a bit and should probably be toned down a tad... :P

  4. That aspect of the Catachan Doctrine annoyed me too. I can think of several different ways to have done it that would have made it more appropriate for their fluff.

    Overall, Astra Militarum are very strong, but that also wasn't a very good Ultramarines list you were up against. He didn't have much in the way of either speed or long-range firepower, and the only ways you can get away with lacking both of those is if you have Death Guard levels of resilience or Orkish numbers of dudes.

    1. I've read the fluff section and, to their credit, they have tried to justify it - Catachan don't just fight in jungles, that is just what they're raised in. They serve the imperium in many ways, and Catachan armoured companies, because the crew are so bulky, they can move heavy shells with ease, meaning they can keep up a faster rate of fire.

      Although on that justification I'm not sure why the random shots on a heavy flamer is re-rolled, or why an infantry based mortar is not, so it isn't a perfect justification, but I will give them some credit for trying.

      Yeah I thought he lacked a bit in armour killing weapons but the week before he'd have seen me playing with hordes of guard infantry with just a couple of wyvern to back them up, so it's possible his list was a reaction to what he'd seen me do before. Unfortunately for him I tend to chop and change my army on an almost weekly basis...