Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Battle Report: Crimson Fists vs. Skull Bashers

Skull Bashers vs. Crimson Fists

Last weekend, I got the chance to play my Crimson Fists against a friend's DIY chapter, the Skull Bashers. This game had a special significance in that it was for the honor of my Fists! Emukt (his interweb persona) and I had made a bet months ago on who ccould finish painting up 1500 points of marines first, as a way of getting our armies finally done. I won the bet by a slim margin (2-3 models!) and took the prize: A new Redeemer/Crusader Kit. So this battle wasn't just for fun…the Skull Bashers were looking to redeem themselves on the battlefield!

Another friend, Falgrim, offered to host and we played on his amazing desert-world themed terrain set. He preset the terrain and he also handled any disputes that came up in play, looked up rules and trash talked us both. He took lots of pictures and tossed in his own commentary on them. Check out his flickr album! I'm really glad for his pictures as I only took a few since I was playing! Here's my shorter slideshow with some comments.

The game was 1750 points as both uf us were able to add a few more points to our lists between the bet and this battle. We rolled up Capture and Control, with a Dawn of War set up. I don't like Dawn of War all that much, so when I won the roll to go first, I happily let Emukt take it. I figured Night-Fighting + most of my units off the board would mean he'd essentially lose a turn of shooting…while I'd have a target-rich environment as my troops entered the board.

Crimson Fists
Captain w/ Power Sword, Bolter
Captain in Termie Armor
5 Terminators (Sgt w/ Power Sword, rest with SB/PF combos)
2 Dreadnaughts (MM+PF)
10 Tacticals w/ Las, Flamer, Rhino w/ HK
10 Tacticals w/ Las, Flamer, Rhino w/ HK
10 Tacticals w/ Hvy Bolter, Plasma Rifle, Sgt w/ Power Fist
10 Scouts w/ 2 sniper rifles
5 Assault w/ Power Fist, Flamer
5 Devs w/ 2 PlasCans, 2 MLs

Skull Bashers (from memory)
Chaplain in Terminator Armor
Legion of the Damned (8 w/ Multimelta and Melta, Power Wpn)
10 Tacticals w/ Plasma Cannon, Flamer
10 Tacticals w/ Las Cannon, Plasma Pistol, Razorback w/ Hvy Bolter
10 Tacticals w/ ML, Melta, Rhino
10 Tacticals w/ ML, Flamer, Rhino
10 Assault Marines, Storm Shield/TH
Predator w/ Autocan, Hvy Bolter
(all his vehicles had HK missiles as well!)

Set up and First 2 turns:
Dawn of war requires that you only set up 2 troops and your HQ to begin with and then the rest of your army pops in as reserves. Our first turn set up was pretty much all about securing the objective and setting up the attack. Really, it was the second turn when the game started (there were no casualties in 1.5 turns!). In the top half, the Skull Bashers pushed out enmasse, using cover for their approach towards my objective. Despite some heavy fire, the Skull Bashers didn't manage to do much beyond stunning a Rhino on the right flank. The Vindicator had been stunned by a lucky shot on turn 1, so could only lumber forward. The brutal roll of the turn was the Assault squad on the left flank failing their difficult terrain test to assault the CF squad near my objective.

At the bottom of the turn(which this map shows), all my reserve units - Termies w/ Captain, 2 Scout Combat squads - had rolled successfully for reserves. I had 1 combat squad (on the left with red arrow) come in behind the vindicator. The other squad moved in onto the hill to assault the Skull Bashers holding the hill (on the right). My Termies deep-struck behind SB lines to draw some fire so my troops could advance!

Skull Basher prepare to defend their objective

My scouts were ultra-effective, destroying the vindicator and completely eliminating the Tactical squad on the hills (SBs rolled terribly for saves!). I forgot to run my termies to spread them out, but on turn 3, the Skull Bashers failed to do any damage anyway, so I lucked out. We saw our first shooting casualties of the game with a SB Assaulter on the right flank going down to combined fire from the two combat squads and the Dev. I missed a critical shot off my other Dread at the razorback, however! I also managed to charge his assault squad with my own, but we traded marine deaths (2 vs. 2). The mistake we made was that I thought the sgt w/ TH had a combat shield and made Emukt save at 5+…but after the game I discovered it was a storm shield. A terrible injustice on my part! The lesson here is to let the player tell you what the trooper is equipped with rather than assume (even though he said his army was WYSIWYG!).

Turns 3 and 4
The Skull Bashers fired nearly everything on their side of the table at my Terminators, but they survived unscathed (all wounds saved and the plasma cannon scattered 6 inches away!). The SBs stayed on task, however, with the Razorback/Chaplain advance pushing toward the CF objective. The Legion of the Dead also appeared, popping a dreadnaught immediately under a hail of bolter/melta fire. The CF Hvy bolter squad in the woods came under some Razorback fire, but managed to survive. He managed to immobilize my center rhino as well.

Crimson Fist Terminator destroy the Predator

My Crimson Fists advanced on the center and right fronts, my Scouts rushing forward to contest the SB objective. My Termie captain split off from his Termie squad to assault the central Combat squad while his cohort assaulted and destroyed the Predator. My devastors and tacticals on the flank opened fire, slowing the rhino. The troops in the center disembarked and advanced with the other combat squad. Near my objective, the assault after two rounds was still a tie…the Skull Basher Assault squad couldn't do enough damage to win the combat. My scouts rushed south to support them. The CF dreadnaught charged the Legion and mud pit them as long as possible (with no power fist, they could only rely on Krak grenades on the front armor)…I had done this before to Emukt and he remarked "I need to add a power fist to that squad!"

The next turn saw fire fights on all side of the board, with my termies taking heavy casualties (4 fell to bolters and assault!), a pair of assaults on the right flank near the devastors ending in CF victory, the SB Chaplain advancing with the Razorback combat squad to destroy my hvy bolter team and the Assault on the CF objective finally ending in my favor when my scouts joined. At this point, I still held my objective, had mud-pitted the legion (despite losing his power fist) and contested the SB one with only a few remaining SB tacticals defending and both my captains in charge range. The assault vs. assault combat ended with only my Power Fist equipped marine surviving, but Emukt had his melta equipped marine in a rhino kick open the back door (fire point!) and melt him!

Turns 5 and 6

Skull Bashers Legion of the Damned conversions
The Legion managed to destroy the dreadnaught and advanced on the objective. The razorback tore up my scouts in the forest, killing 3, but I had 2 other combats squads near enough to score the objective. The Chaplain and combat squad contested it just in time on turn 6. On the other flank, Emukt played some delaying actions, but couldn't hold his objective and my Scouts scored it. Victory to the Crimson Fists on turn 6!

Skull Bashers contest the objective on turn 6

Things I learned in play:
  1. The flexibility of Space Marines are awesome. Combat Squads, Scouts, Deep Strike Termies (and Legion) lets a player really put pressure on the opponent to react. And once you've got them reacting, it's tough to get ahead.

  2. I was a little down on the scouts once I saw the new stat line, but it didn't really hurt this game! The ability to outflank coupled with CC-equipped scouts gives the ability to surprise and seize objectives before anyone knows what's going on.

  3. Rhinos provide a real advantage in play! The Skull Bashers had a lot of mobility on both flanks and it was only lucky rolls that slowed them down. My own rhinos spent a lot of time stunned/immobilized, but still managed to get their cargo to their destinations.

  4. Power Fists rule! I guess we all know this, but they really shined this game…crushing marines in the assault and destroying a rhino in the late game. The fact that Emukt didn't have one in his Legion slowed him down in the fight against my dread as well.

  5. Marines win games by staying on plan and using units in concert. I don't think there is a "Nob Bike Squad" equivalent in a marine list (maybe 10 TH in a LR?)…you really need squads to work together.

  6. This game really made me see the lack of a heavy tank/armor in my CF list. I'm working on an LRC, but I might add a Predator or a Vindicator to the Armory soon. I can't always depend on my powerfists and combat squad las cannons for vehicle popping.

  7. Even with terrible rolling in the first two turns, the Skull Bashers managed to still contest my objective by the final turn 6. It pays to have a plan and stick to it even if the Dice Gods have turned against you! I fear our next Skull Basher game!

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