Sunday, October 21, 2012

Battle Report: Presidential Debate

Actually there wasn’t much of a debate between these two candidates: when they finally met at the end of the game it was a brief and violent exchange.

This game was talked about all day but wasn’t really expected to happen.  Then, at almost 8pm, suddenly it was on.  With such a time pinch, J and I decided on a quick 1000pt game.  I, still on my anti-power armor kick, decided to play daemons for the first time.  I actually had a hard time scraping up enough models to fill 1000 pts, but I managed and we got it on.  It was Space Wolves vs Daemons.  The armies looked like this:

Space Wolves:

Rune Priest with tempest’s wrath & murderous hurricane
Grey Hunters with Plasma Gun
Land Raider Crusader
Grey Hunters with Plasma Gun
Drop Pod
Thunderwolf Cavalry
Long Fangs with 4 missile launchers


Keeper of Secrets with various power upgrades
Heralds (2) one of Slaanesh, one of Khorne
Seekers of Slaanesh
Flesh hounds
Flamers of Tzeentch

We are both still new to 6th edition and so we used some but not all of the scenario rules.  There were three objectives on the board.  The Keeper’s warlord trait gave him Feel No Pain when within 3” of an objective.  The Rune Priest’s forced nearby enemy units to use their lowest LD value instead of their highest—not real effective against daemons.

Turn 1:  The SW got the first go, and they quickly spread over the battle field, moving in on all three objectives unopposed.  The Rune Priest and his grey hunters were loaded in the land raider and moved toward the central objective.  The second squad of hunters landed in their pod and made for the western objective, and the thunderwolf cavalry made for the eastern one.  The long fangs were set up in a ruin with 4 rocket launchers ready but nothing yet to shoot at.  Then the first wave of daemons arrived: the Keeper of Secrets and his Slaaneshi servants.  The Keeper appeared in a puff of black perfume just inches from the western objective.  His daemonic gaze caused the nervous collapse and hearts to explode in four of the approaching drop pod hunters an instant after his arrival.  The last three broke and ran toward their board edge, which brought them closer to the greater daemon.  The seekers on deamonic mounts appeared on the same side of the board and the daemonettes materialized behind the TWCavalry squad.  And they all just stood there... Daemons, as I will remark on again, have very little in the way of ranged attacks, and because they can’t assault on arrival from reserve they did nothing but wait to be shot at.

Turn 2:  They didn’t have to wait long.  The long fangs split their fire, hitting both the daemonettes on foot and those mounted with frag missiles.  The land raider split its fire as well, spraying assault cannon, hurricane bolter, and multimelta wrath around the board.  The Priest and his boys unloaded onto the central objective and fired their weapons, the Priest calling up a hurricane to assault the Keeper, but his Deny the Witch roll dissipated the winds before they could attack.  The surviving pod hunters, with a plasmagun, fired on the Keeper but failed to hurt him.  (Actually, J had 2 plasmaguns and rolled at least three 1s throughout the game – i thought the Chaos Powers were trying to jinx his weapons but he kept making his armor saves against the Gets Hot rule.)  The drop pod fired its deathwind missile spread but missed the seekers.  The TWC fired their pistols and then charged the daemonettes.  The girls, by this time, were reduced in number from the shooting phase, and after the assault only the Herlad was left to fight, though she delivered a wound to one wolfrider. 
            Basically, I took a lot of heat.  Had it not been for the blessings of the Chaos Powers granting me more 5s and 6s than I’d ever rolled before (and the fact that all daemon saves are invulnerable) the battle would have been half over right there.  But we persisted....
            Daemon counterattack saw the Keeper slaughter the last pod hunters in melee combat.  The seekers charged the Priest and his hunters, killing one hunter and wounding the Priest, but none of the mounted daemons survived the Rune Priest mystic weapon and hunters’ brawling experience.  The Flamers arrived, deepstriking behind the Slaaneshi Herald as she completed her dance with the TWC: the flamers arrived (and deviated) and couldn’t shoot because the TWC were still in combat – then the Herald finished off one wolf rider and was killed herself.
            So that’s one SW unit destroyed and two Daemon units banished, with only the Keeper and impotent Flamers on the table.  It looked bleak.  It usually does.

Turn 3:  The Rune Priest summons up a storm to crash would-be deepstrikers, then assails the Keeper with a murderous hurricane (3D6 shooting attacks).  The long fangs fire krak missiles into the monster and the drop pod launches a swarm of micro-rockets at him.  The land raider and hunters fire their weapons at him as well.  Despite making an amazing amount of invuln saves (and simply shrugging off hits with his 6 toughness), the Keeper is staggered, taking two of his four wounds.  The wolf riders fire on and charge the trio of flamers, wiping them out before they can even shoot anything (my one shooty unit).  (Well, they got overwatch shots with their templates, but failed to wound.) 
            Finally Khorne decides to send some of his disciples. The bloodletters appear near the TWC, one lost in the storm trying to deep strike.  Then they...  just stand there (cuz that’s all they can do).  The greater daemon continues in stride toward the hulking drop pod that has been pestering him with hornet nests of missiles.  His brutal fury causes four penetrating hits and it explodes.  The flames fail to harm the daemon. 

Turn 4:  It was 11:30pm at the beginning of turn four, and the shop closed at midnight.  We knew this was the last turn. 
            The Space Wolves fired with all they had, only managing to piss off the Keeper of Secrets and killing one or two bloodletters still standing in deepstrike formation.  Then the wolf riders attack.  The melee is a bloody one, the daemons of Khorne and their Herald coming out victorious against the two wolf riders, bathing in their lupine blood.  They consolidate toward the long fang’s hideout. 
            The bloodletters barely make enough of a charge distance to engage some of the long fangs in combat, forcing the rest to climb down from their perches to fight.  It’s the hellblades that saved me in this battle, because without them and the bloodletters’ fury, I’d have not had many victims in this fight.  The combat in those ruins goes unresolved – I had won but we didn’t bother testing for morale, as the game was about to end.  The fleshhounds finally make it in, surviving the difficult deepstrike despite the storm.  I suddenly realize that they can, in fact, RUN once the arrive, and the pack of six hounds round the bulky land raider, headed straight for the grey hunters.  So is the Keeper.  He charges in, shrugging of overwatch fire and entering melee combat. 
            Now here’s the sticky part: I don’t declare a challenge so J does, knowing this is a protective measure to his benefit.  By challenging the Keeper, the Rune Priest forces a choice: accept and have your attacks only focused on the Priest, or refuse and not be allowed to fight at all.  To me, a greater daemon would laugh off the challenge and just wipe out the whole squad right there – there’s no shame if no one lives to tell the tale of your refusal.  But by the (questionable) rules of 6th edition, I must accept.  So the Keeper’s six AP2 wounds that he inflicts all get sucked up by the mangled Rune Priest, rather than wiping out the whole hunter squad in one fell sweep. 
            The debate is over.  My candidate made an undeniable argument.  His candidate fed the crows.    

The game ended there, out of time, with no one able to claim objectives.  We called it a tie.  I suppose if you implemented the secondary objectives the daemons would have won, but we weren’t that concerned about it.  It was a good game, a lot of fun, and makes for a good story.  That’s the best part.   
So this was the first time I ever played daemons, and daemon players already know what I found out: the troubles with playing daemons.  A big disadvantage of this army is that they all deepstrike in, which has inherent danger and unpredictability.  Plus, as they trickle in one or two scattered units at a time, they get the hell shot out of them.  And that’s the second big drawback: daemons have very little in the way of ranged attacks and now in 6th edition no one arriving from reserve can assault that same turn, which means your daemons appear and then stand there waiting to be slaughtered until next turn when they can act.  Sucks.  I had Lady Luck (or a Dark God?) on my side this game though, as I made an incredible number of saves, keeping my guys alive long enough to get stuck in and do some damage.  Which lends to the biggest advantage of this army: all their saves are invulnerable, and they are fearless, so even as they get mowed down waiting for their turn to move, you know they aren’t going to break and run from loss of models.  Daemons overall are a lot of fun, but I couldn’t see running them very often, at least not alone.  Daemon allies, however, I already have plans for...

(My crew from the game.  I do have and plan to restore a classic Keeper of Secrets, same one I bought in the 80s, the original and best ever made.  Someday soon she'll grace the field again...)

(p.s. please excuse all the typos and changes in tense I may be leaving behind, the battle has left my brain exhausted...)

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