Friday, February 24, 2012

Why won't you just die already?

It's been a while, but I finally got around to playing a game. 500 points, my usual space marines against a composed-on-the-spot Necron list.

Sentinels Eternal:
Captain with bolt pistol, power weapon, melta bomb.
Tac squad with power fist, plasma cannon, flamer.
Scout squad with sniper rifles.

Overlord (I think) with warscythe.
Warriors, Cryptek with eldrich lance (I think).
Immortals (gauss), Cryptek with eldrich lance.
3 models that I think were wraiths: they were S6 W2 3++ jump infantry, and two had whipcoils.

Having heard a lot about the new Necrons recently, I was interested to see them in action. To keep things simple, we played for killpoints using standard deployment. Unfortunately the game was a little static as we were both using mostly shooty units, also he was taking it easy on me and I was playing like an idiot.

First of all, having been underwhelmed by the performance of all my units in previous games, I decided to sit back in cover and make him come to me. I put my captain with my tac squad in a defensive position on my right, put my dread in the center of my lines behind a ruin where he would get cover but still be able to shoot and advance (through the building, heh). I originally wanted my scouts on his side of the board where he would have to split up his forces to deal with them, but couldn't find a good spot so I left them on top of a ruin off to my left.

They didn't move for the entire battle

He put his overlord with the warriors in the center and his immortals in a ruin facing my tac squad. His wraiths were mostly hidden behind a ruin, but with line of sight to the left side of the board to limit my scout deployment.

Basically, he advanced his troops enough to shoot at me while I sat back and used the enhanced range of my sniper rifles and plasma cannon to... do absolutely nothing. His wraiths headed towards my scouts, while My dread advanced through the ruin, pulling off some very lucky cover saves while managing to insta-kill a wraith.

Over the course of the game the plasma cannon managed to kill a few immortals (it would have been more except for their cover saves and reanimation protocols, which he had a tendency to roll well for). The rest of the squad didn't manage anything with their bolters. The scouts only managed two or three kills over maybe four turns of shooting, of which at least two got back up. My opponent forgot wraiths don't take dangerous terrain tests and spent several turns working his way through the ruins to reach the scouts. Of course they murdered them when they finally got there.

His biggest mistake was moving his warriors, with Overlord attached, too close to my dread, allowing me to assault. He managed a glancing hit with his warscythe, but it just shook the dread, who then insta-killed the overlord. I was quite surprised that the overlord didn't have an invulnerable save.
One of these things is not like the others

At some point (perhaps around the fourth turn) it dawned on me that my Captain was not being very useful, so I ran him forwards alone. Luckily he made it to the central combat unscathed. Next turn his surviving Wraiths piled in, but couldn't get into base contact with the Dread and so couldn't use their whip coils. My captain claimed a few warriors and lost a wound, my Dread failed to do very much. He did lose another Wraith to fearless wounds though, so things were looking up for me.

We counted this to be the end of the sixth turn and the store was closing, so we called it here. He had a killpoint off my scouts and I had one off his Overlord, making it a draw.

The ref called time so they all shook hands and went home

Overall there were surprisingly few casualties: by the start of the fourth turn I think I had lost about two marines and he had lost a wraith and maybe a warrior? By the end of the game I was only down three or four marines and the snipers, and he probably had more than half his models left. I guess both our lists were resilient but not very offensive, and we both played a little defensively.

So he made a couple of mistakes: first by moving up to the ruin my dread was using for cover so it could hop out and assault without weathering a round of lances sans cover save, second by not splitting off his overload and thus allowing me to take the killpoint. Even then, I would have lost if my dread hadn't been very lucky - even a single weapon destroyed would have stopped me from killing the overlord.

Of course I completely forgot about my Captain, and was too scared to get my tac squad with fist into assault. I also should have focussed my fire more to try to wipe out the immortals, there's a chance I could have earned a killpoint there? Actually, probably not.

I'm basically not happy with my list because it's not fun to play. The dread doesn't kill as much as he should, but in these small games he can be real problem for enemy units. The tac squad is boring and the plasma cannon unreliable - but sometimes quite useful. The captain adds some punch, but less sometimes than I expect (s4 hurts here). The scouts are awful. I really want to work some assault troops in, but there's just no points unless I swap the tac squad for scouts (I don't want to lose the dread). Actually, that's not a bad idea, swap the tacs squad and snipers for two small units of assaulty scouts and an assault squad. The problem really is painting them...