The opening statement in this post-mortem aftermath discussion should be that this was an awesome game. We had big tanks, big explosions, lots of combat (some heroic, some not so) – we even had a flying dragon and zombies! Big thank you to Bull.
I had devised a list of evilness, talked the talk in my pre-game banter, and now had to stand up and dish out the pub kicking that I'd promised. But I was not facing the army I had expected.
|Bull's Dark Angels|
To start with, Bull had thrown a spanner or two into the works, which was great. His list – which he admitted was more characterful than killer – was not quite what I had predicted. The Terminators and Land Raider made sense on paper, given that Belial was leading. I had mentioned them briefly in my pre-game thoughts but I did not really expect to see any Terminators… not really. The Lascannon Razorback was something that I had also dismissed over time but could return to haunt me. What it meant was that there were less enemy models on the board but all of them were a real threat.
|Heldrake enters the fray|
In a similar vein my list gave Bull a couple of unknowns. He would be experiencing a Flyer for the first time and all that entails (as would I). On paper the Heldrake seemed almost game changing and could cause him no end of trouble (or at least that was the plan). The Zombies, whilst very characterful, were more a novelty addition. On paper they seem quite weak and Bull's list had the firepower to kill them easily. Alas, he engaged them in combat on Turn 2. He has since criticised himself for this. In fairness, if he hadn't engaged them when he did, they certainly would have charged into him next turn, doubling the incoming attacks. The only thing he could have done was find a different way to get rid of the Obliterators, which were his true target.
At the end of the day I claimed the victory, so talk of ifs, buts and maybes seems a little redundant from my perspective. Still, there is always a lesson to be learned and I do like my statistics, so I have asked the questions a general must ask himself and pored over the data for each unit. Apologies if it's a little self-indulgent!
Would I change my list?
I can't say that I would to be honest. I eeked out every last point of the 1500 available, so in order to get the one thing I did need more of – Obliterators – some other aspect would suffer significantly.
I could have removed their Mark of Nurgle, taken the Extra Armour off my Rhinos and found room for a third, plain Obliterator perhaps. However, the Armour saved a Rhino on Turn 1 and Toughness 5 Obliterators lasted longer against the Lightning Claw Deathwing than they would have, had they been T4. They would also have been instant killed with a Power Fist. That in turn would have meant the Zombies had more Deathwing Terminators to deal with and that whole combat could have swung in favour of the Imperials.
That's not to say I will take the same list next time…!
Would I change my deployment?
Not really, I think it worked out in the end. The only thing I may do differently would be to deploy Typhus and the Terminators in with the Obliterators and Zombies. However, having them in reserve did mean I could drop them where they were needed most, even if this did expose them for a while.
What would I have done differently?
I would have made a more concerted effort to take out the Vindicator earlier on. It became a real thorn in my backside and prevented me claiming a second objective that was there for the taking. I've learned in this game that the chances of destroying a vehicle in one hit is unlikely. You're much more likely to kill a vehicle by removing its Hull Points with multiple glancing hits. Expecting the Heldrake to take out the Vindicator in one turn wasn't reasonable, without something else softening it up first.
Man/Unit of the Match?
I think it has to be the Zombies! I was expecting them to die easily and leave the Obliterators exposed. What actually happened was that they helped the Obliterators last longer than they might (and visa versa). Thanks to their sheer weight of numbers, they helped tie up 400 points worth of enemy and took down the Deathwings' beloved leader. Had Bull taken a Heavy Flamer in his Deathwing Unit he could have taken out half the unit in one hit! Scary.
The only issue I have is that in order to field these guys I HAVE to take Typhus. Costing almost as much as a Landraider in points, that's quite an investment.
Damage Taken: 24 zombies lost (approx. 100pts)
Kills: 3 Deathwing Terminators and Belial (approx. 315pts)
All the units in the army did reasonably well. I didn't lose a lot (really) – A Rhino, 2 Obliterators, 3 Terminators, half a dozen Plague Marines and two dozen Zombies – but was anyone dragging their feet? The only unit that didn't contribute a lot to the cause was the unpainted Plague Marine unit. They were blown out of their Rhino on Turn 2 then sat near objective and were hit by the Vindicator for two turns. They didn't kill anything, despite a couple of rounds of shooting, ending the game below half strength.
Damage Taken: 4 Marines and a Rhino lost (approx. 145pts)
What about the Big Fella?
He arrived in a very prompt fashion and managed to land where I wanted him to. A good start. He cast a Malediction spell to impede the nearby Deathwing Terminators which seemed to help and survived a round of shooting and a couple of rounds of combat unhurt. Once he got his mojo going he was devastating, showing us a glimpse of what is to come. He rolled up 8 hits against the Chaplain, who failed 4 of them, so he can certainly dish out a beating. His Boon Table roll game him re-rolls to wound – this would have made him even more deadly had there been anyone else to fight! Looking forward to seeing more of this guy in the future. His points cost may mean that he isn't present at every battle, but that only reflects the nature of his lofty status.
Damage Taken: 2 wounds
Killed: 2x Command Unit marines, Interrogator Chaplain
The rest of the army looks something like this:
Killed: 1x Command Unit marines, 1 wound off Interrogator Chaplain
Damage Taken: wiped out
Effectiveness: Took hits to shield Typhus, otherwise in deficit
Plague Marine unit 2 (secured Objective marker)
Killed: 2x Command Unit marines, Imobilised Venerable Dread
Damage Taken: 2 dead
Killed: Hull Points off Vindicator and Speeder, 5-man Tactical Squad
Damage Taken: survived untouched
Effectiveness: Pretty even with points cost
Killed: 2x Deathwing Terminators, Hull Point off Land Raider
Damage Taken: wiped out
Effectiveness: Held up the Terminators, otherwise in deficit
Killed: Hull Points off Vindicator, Speeder and Razorback
Damage Taken: 2 Hull Points lost (should have been 3 and dead)
Effectiveness: Kept Vindicator occupied, otherwise even with cost
As Bull pointed out in his battle report, this game represented an initial surgical strike by the Nurgle forces to eliminate the Dark Angel leadership. That mission is now complete and it's time to move on to take the rest of the planet. Belial may be down but he's surely not out. He may need time to recover but he'll be back before this campaign is done. Can the Dark Angel's at the outpost on Cherbull hold out until reinforcements (i.e. a new codex) arrive to save them?