Monday, November 8, 2010

Planetstrike with Space Wolves 2: Angels Fall First

"Like angels of death they descended behind our lines - Blood Angels. Feh! I could smell the stench of the promethium burning inside their jump packs.. Even the iron discipline instilled in our Thunderwolves could not stop them from growling impatiently, wishing without a doubt to rend the Angels to shreds as we lurked from afar. Our bastions fell and we died like the Emperor's dogs should - with dignity and ferocity only rivaled by the treacherous Angels. As our Battle Brothers died, me and my Thunderwolf Guard taunted them by infiltrating their own stronghold as we desperately tried to win precious time for our reinforcements. We faced their charge with a counter-attack of our own and I made sure to punish every Blood Angel sevenfold for every dead Space Wolf. With cunning akin to Lukas the Trickster's, we managed to hold the Angel's fortress (or what was left of it!) but even when our Wolf Brothers arrived, the tide of this savage massacre did not favor us. And praise Russ - neither did it favor the Blood Angels" - Skarvald the Troll-faced

For the battle report describing my second clash against the Blood Angels (this time played by my friend Vince) and to witness the desperate fight for survival, please join me after the break!

My second game in our Planetstrike campaign saw me facing my best friend's Blood Angels Jump Infantry list. To make things more cinematic and scary - I was defending again! Man, those Blood Angels sure don't seem to enjoy defending on their own turf. It's like they can't fit inside their Bastions with those big, clunky jump packs they always seem to carry. Oh, wait. They really can't fit! :)

At 2,000 points Vince was fielding nothing but Blood Angels with jump packs. Tons of Assault Squads with power weapons, power fists, meltas and Sanguinary priests, a Drop Pod with Sternguard kitted out with combi-meltas and what not.. (he used Forge World's MK III Iron Armour models to represent a veteran squad equipped not with the newest stuff but with the Blood Angel's powerful relics). He also ran a very potent Death Star unit - A chaplain, a Sanguinary Priest, a Librarian and Honor Guard or something.. - all with power weapons! With a 1st turn rerollable 3+ reserve roll and scattering only d6 inches when Deep Striking the Blood Angels could care less about Long Fangs, Counter Attack and their tons of S5, I5 power attacks WITH Feel No Pain meant death for my Wolves.. But even in such dire circumstances the Wolves know no fear!

Turn 1 assault? Bloody hell..
I deployed as I did before - hugging a long table edge with tons of buildings shrouding my 4 bastions, with plenty of obstacles, ruins and craters to make my opponent think twice before Deep Striking. Two Long Fang squads in Bastions, two Grey Hunter squads with Rune Priests in the other two Bastions. My Thunderwolvesand the rest was put in reserve. We were playing Mission #2: Desperate Assault. The Attacker gets his own Bastion on a table edge touching his own and gets to destroy one bastion on a 4+ because of the Beachhead special rule. All I needed to win the game was to control a single Objective at the end of the game! You see, by doing that I made two very crucial mistakes that pretty much lead to more than half of my army disappearing on Turn 1. Where I messed up? 1) The Defender doesn't have his own deployment zone. The attackers picks his after the Defender is done setting up, meaning his troops can simply walk on the board turn 1.. 2) The Attacker does not have to Deep Strike his infantry...

As a Thunderpuppy would say, "The situation is Ruff! Ruff!"

Vince picked the extra Firestorm blasts and the Observer stratagems. Big pie plates dropped on my head and managed to destroy a bastion and destroy a lot of Grey Hunters.You see that big balloon animal in the middle of the board? That was his Observer.. >_> And yes, he picked the long table edge behind my bastion as his deployment edge and all but a squad of Assault Marines came in from reserves on turn 1. Oh, and he my awesome bastion with the Void Shield on a 4+ because of that Beachhead rule. Ruff! His Sternguard came in via Drop Pod, fit nicely between the buildings and then proceeded to shoot the crap out of my Long Fang squad 2+ poisonous rounds. Who needs a 3+ armor save when you have to make like 15 saves? One of his Assault Squads melted my middle bastion to nothing, leaving my Grey Hunter squad exposed to a second scary unit of Blood Angels. His Assault phase saw him assaulting said squad and his Death Star unit mutilated my second squad with the poor Rune Priest. They didn't even get to attack. ; ( At this to the fact that for the entire first turn my army was at a -2 Leadership.. So anyways, 4 Grey Hunters from the big squad actually survived and ran away, running 3 inches. No regrouping for them this turn..

Vince's Death Star teabagging my Rune Priest.
 You can see how well Vince has painted this squad of guys. They look amazing on the tabletop. Also notice my Work-in-Progress Rune Priest. It's the same guy that I converted not so long ago.

5'' Fleet move! Go get them boys!
On my turn the Grey Hunters continued to run some more and just burst through the door of the Shrine of the Aquila which protected me so well my previous game. Everything I had in reserves came in too! My Thunderwolves came from the opposite table edge and huffed it towards his bastion on the right flank. One squad of Grey Hunters and a Vindicator chose to outflank behind the bastion, thus securing the position. It was obvious that the Vindicator would only get one shot, so I deployed it blocking an eventual lucky assault from his Assault Squad in reserve aimed at my Grey Hunters. My second squad of Grey Hunters was feeling suicidal and evidently chose to deploy on his table edge behind his army! Shooting was pretty useless - My remaining Rune Priest tried to cast Murderous Hurricane on my opponent's expensive unit and succeeded, needing an 8 or less (rolled an 8!). His Librarian's inferior Psychic Hood blocked it, though. Grey Hunters opened fire at the Assault Squad they were going to assault and maybe killed 2 or 3 guys with their pistols and meltas. Vindicator had a nice shot through cover at his Death Star and killed 2 or 3 guys, probably making its points right there. Big Long Fangs squad didn't kill anything.. My squad on the right flank failed to destroy his bastion with meltas and even a Thunderwolf assault and a S9 power fist in the Grey Hunter squad whiffed. The assault over there was a tie, I think.

Game Plan: From the very beginning of the game I knew that my only chance of winning this game was going to be his own Bastion on the right flank. With all of his forces wasting their time destroying my forces in the middle I had to distract him, slow him down and use my Thunderwolves as a shield to protect the Grey Hunters at his objective. Also I couldn't afford the game to go past turn 5.

This satellite image captures fully what happened on Turn 2..

One of his free Assault Squads moved towards my Long Fangs squad (they were where the small blast template is on the picture), his Death Star unit decided to help with the assault that I started (Just the way I wanted!!!) and his last Assault Squad chose to come in from the table edge using their meltas to make my Vindicator explode. His Sternguard Veterans did something, but I don't remember what. Oh yeah, they melted the Bastion behind them, so his squad could assault the squishy Long Fangs inside. As you can imagine, the multitudes of S5, I6 power weapons that rerolled to hit ended my Grey Hunter's career.

Wolf Brothers, it would seem that we have been discovered by the enemy!
On my turn the 4 Grey Hunters continued to flee, coming within 6'' of his Observer. I insisted on popping the little balloon bunny. It felt so... refreshing! Grey Hunters moved in a conga line, preparing to charge the Blood Angels and the Thunderwolves were determined to annihilate the damned Bastion once and for all. My Rune Priest managed to cast Murderous Hurricane on his big unit (it actually didn't kill any of his guys).
Yep. That was all I had left and he still had all of his units. Ruff..
My Thunderwolves managed to destroy the Bastion this turn with a melta bomb and my Grey Hunters charged his squad. After some mediocre rolling and whiffing on both sides I was the victor and he only had his Power fist Sergeant and 1 more guy left in the squad and his sergeant actually survived the fight (this was also the only squad with the Red Thirst, so it was Fearless).

Attacker turn 3 saw the Blood Angels clearing the rest of the Grey Hunters and the Rune Priest + Long Fang Sergeant that were left in the middle. His Death Star and another unit of Assault Marines moved towards the left flank. His plan was to let me charge his dangerously close unit and then charge me with his nastier Librarian + Chaplain + Honor Guard combo..

Turn 4 was pretty much the same. His Sternguard veterans moved, his other dudes moved.. That one assault against my Grey Hunters was still going on with the Sergeant crushing more and more Wolves, since they failed to do anything to him. 

"This is what we think of your FNP!"
I bit the bone. As my Grey Hunters were fighting the remaining Blood Angel Sergeant for the dibs on the wrecked Bastion, my Thunderwolves charged the closest Assault Squad. I just had to - not only would that stop one squad from charging my Grey Hunters next turn but it would also be in the way of other squads.. As always, Skarvald the Troll-faced obliterated with the very touch of his Frost Axe, killing half the Assault Squad by himself. As expected from a Wolf Lord on a Thunderwolf!
His guys did a wound or two on my Wolves, but were no match for the S5 rending attacks and then the 5 Thunder hammer attacks.. I then consolidated backwards 4'', spreading my guys out like Garfrost's jaw.. My Grey Hunters managed to kill the Blood Angel's sergeant, but took heavy casualties resulting in only 3 Wolf Brothers surviving the ordeal. The consolidated back, towards the ruins of the objective.

Turn 5! The All-or-Nothing Turn! His guys frantically moved towards the objective, but only my Thunderwolves were in his threat range and it was "only" his Death Star unit. I just had to survive the charge on this and my turn and not let him consolidate towards my objective...

First of all, I failed my Counter Attack when he charged me with his l33t unit of Death and Desturction. Death Star against Death Star. Shit was ruuuufff! Ruff!
His Honor Guard did a bunch of wounds to my Thunderwolves but not enough to kill them. His Librarian could only attack my squad and used his abilities to give himself S10... which killed FOUR of my Thunderwolves. God, that freakin' sucked! Skarvald then proceeded to make a mockery of his Honor Guard, killing 3 or 4... I don't remember. In the end Skarvald was by himself and I'm not sure whether he failed or not, whether it was a tied combat.. but he remained with 3 wounds left, still in combat!

On my turn the Grey Hunters got in the middle of the objective. Skarvald survived the Honor Guard's attacks (I don't think any of them even wounded) and avendged his squad by squishing the Librarian, winning the combat. Man, my Wolf Lord always does work.. :P

We asked the manager of the store to role the dice and see if the game ended.. The die hit the table and for my delight it rolled a "1", thus ending the game! In the end all that I had left was Skarvald the Troll-faced and 3 Grey Hunters. Talk about a bloody massacre, guys! However, I had an objective which meant that I was the victor! Yet, I felt bad for Vince, who lost the game because of a die roll.. So I called it a draw.

I wouldn't lie - I was pretty pissed off at the beginning. Making silly mistakes because of forgetting rules and having more than 60% of my army annihilated on turn one was terrifying and even thought it was a game of Planetstrike (a rulebook which clearly favors some codices) and I kept telling myself that it was just a friendly game, I couldn't help but feel bad and severely outplayed. However, after turn 3 I saw the possibility of winning, which although incredibly small was still possible. I pulled my shit together, got lucky and won!
The game was a new experience for me and I doubt that I'll ever get to see my army getting destroyed in such a fast manner. I mean, even Imperial Guard Leaf Blower lists will struggle to that much damage. I guess the worst is out of the way, huh? :P It was also a nice game against Vince. The last time we were playing was months ago when he played his Grey Knights and I fielded my Orkz. I'm looking forward to our next game, Vincent, you bloody savage!

(Technical Victory for the Space Wolves)

Also, keeping with the musical theme, here's the song from the title of this post: 

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