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GC Tournament of March 2004

Game 3: Escalating Engagement vs I.G.

Phasing out the Necrons was a pleasant surprise. Really didn’t expect it. The next game is against IG – a very traditional shooty army at that. I’m really hoping for pitched battle here, as escalating engagement would mean I can’t use my disruption dice, and I come into battle piecemeal. For easy reference, here's my list:

We rolled for the scenario, and out came Escalating Engagement! Frankly, I don’t know how well my plan of hitting one flank will work with this scenario. His list was:

HQ: Ursakar Creed, Sgt Krell w 8th Cadian Rgt banner, missile launcher
Anti-tank squad, 3 missile launchers
Anti-tank squad, 3 missile launchers
Hardened Veterans (6), 2 meltaguns, lascannon, carapace
Hardened Veterans (6), 2 plasma guns, lascannon, carapace
Hardened Veterans (6), 2 plasma guns, lascannon, crapace
Conscripts (40)
Platoon HQ (5): Junior Officer, missile launcher
3 squads, each with autocannon
Leman Russ, lascannon, improved comms
Leman Russ, lascannon, sponson heavy bolters
 

The terrain was a weird cityscape. There were 2 ruined buildings on my side, 2 on his, 1 large building on the right flank in no man’s land, 1 small building in the center slightly left, a river running through the middle, 2 bridges (1 on each player’s side), and a huge pipe dead center. It was weird because although there were a lot of buildings, all the cover was pointing the wrong way (pointing towards the table edges instead of into the table). All cover was agreed at 5+.

DEPLOYMENT
Enemy: In this scenario, each squad is rolled for, and only starts on table on a roll of a ‘6’. The rest are in reserve. In turn 1, units may arrive on 5+, and 4+ on turn 2. The rest come on in turn 3. In all cases, units arrive at random points – on a 1-2, they must come in within 24” of the left edge, 3-4 24” from right edge, and 5-6 anywhere along the long table edge. Mr Creed’s HQ deployed in the middle of the bridge on his side, out of LOS from most angles. An infantry squad deployed to the right of the HQ.

Alaitoc: The Pathfinders come on automatically and was deployed in the river in the center. Out of the 14 dice I rolled, only 1 Wraithlord came on, which I deployed in the center.

With Ursakar Creed around, the IG got 1st turn, of course.

TURN 1
IG: Special reserve rolls see the conscripts, a hardened veterans squad, an infantry and 2 Leman Russes come on table. Leman Russes, missile launcher and autocannon opened up on Wraithlord, to no effect.

Alaitoc: 2 Ranger squads and the Farseer came on table from reserve. 1 Ranger squad was forced to come in on the left flank and sought cover in the building there. The other Ranger squad moved into cover in the building on the right. The Farseer sped down the middle to join the Wraithlord, which moved forward. Pathfinders kill 3 IG. Wraithlord hits the Leman Russ on the right, but fails to penetrate.

TURN 2
IG: Almost all of his army turns up. The left was screened by a long line of conscripts. Behind that was an anti-tank squad, platoon HQ, a Leman Russ and an infantry squad. The center had 3 hardened vet squads, Ursakar’s HQ and an infantry squad. The right flank had a Leman Russ, an infantry squad and the other anti-tank squad. Wraithlord and Pathfinders survive a hail of fire for no wounds (!) Unfortunately a scattering ordnance template blows away my Farseer (I don’t think I’ve ever made that 4+ save :).

Alaitoc: My Fire Dragons, 2 Ranger squads, the other Wraithlord and 1 Vyper turns up. Not very good. I’m not used to attacking piecemeal, yet I felt that I don’t really have the time to wait before I attack. Furthermore, I did not have a choice as to where the forces turn up. The Fire Dragons move up the extreme left flank, moving the full 24”. The Vyper was forced top come in on the right flank, where cover was sparse. Fire was very ineffective, with 3 IG down and the right Leman Russ shaken.

TURN 3
IG: Fire was concentrated on the lead Wraithlord, who predictably fell (8 missile launchers, 3 lascannons – ouch). Autocannons killed one Ranger in the right building.

Alaitoc: The rest of my force turns up, but scattered. The other Vyper and the Stormies turn up on the right flank. The Stormie serpent moving full speed between the ruins, screened partly by the earlier Vyper. I was getting very concerned. This is a VP game and I haven’t scored a single point yet. In a desperate gamble, my Fire Dragon Serpent moved full-speed, tank-shocking the conscripts, the left anti-tank squad and the platoon command squad. They all passed morale, but one missile launcher was killed in a failed death or glory attempt. The surviving Wraithlord move up the left flank, trying to find whatever cover available. Shooting was dismal, with the Wraithlord missing the Leman Russ. Starcannon and snipers managed to get rid of one missile launcher on the right. Snipers further reduce the front-most infantry squad.

TURN 4
IG: The Fire Dragon serpent miraculously survives a hail of anti-tank shots unharmed. The Stormies were less fortunate. Although the screening Vyper managed to limit anti-tank fire to the Wave Serpent to only 2 lascannons, 1 shot glanced and immobilized it. 2 stormies were killed in the crash and they were pinned (so much for a bold flamer attack). Needless to say, the Vyper took the brunt of the shooting and went down in flames.

Alaitoc: The Stormies crashing was not good. I wanted to roll up both flanks in close combat. Now I couldn’t even do it with my Fire Dragons! The intention was to risk their Serpent by not moving, disembarking the Fire Dragons, then charge the infantry squads, and roll up the left flank in close combat. But there was not enough space to disembark the whole squad! Feeling a bit stupid, I moved the Serpent straight through the anti-tank squad and conscripts in a mad attempt to dash to the other flank. One enemy missile launcher guy died in another failed death or glory attempt. Pathfinders and Rangers in the center moved up to find better firing positions. Surviving Vyper moves very gently to line up a shot at their vets. One vet died. Sniper fire fells a few more IG.

TURN 5
IG: Now the Fire Dragon Serpent received the full attention of anti-tank fire. I had misjudged distance, and the APC was in range of 2 hardened vet squads’ plasma and meltaguns. The Serpent was hit multiple times and stunned. Missile launchers and battle cannons take 2 wounds from my remaining Wraithlord. Autocannons wipe out the Ranger squad in the right building.

Alaitoc: The Fire Dragon Serpent drifted 2” towards the center of the board. Stormies recovered from pin and advanced forwards thru some ruins – in “ordnance” formation. The Vyper moves gingerly to gain safer position. Wraithlord tries to seek cover amid ruins on the left. He shoots at the Leman Russ on the right – and misses again (he never hits anything in this particular game). Sniper fire takes down a bunch of IG. However, bad deployment meant that I couldn’t concentrate fire and the shots hit several different enemy units. The Vyper’s movement moved out of range of the vets!!!

TURN 6
IG: Seizing the opportunity, the anti-tank squad shoots and penetrates the Wave Serpent, and it explodes, killing 4 of its Fire Dragon passengers. Only 1 lascannon and 1 battle cannon could target the Wraithlord now. The lascannon missed, but the battle cannon shell landed smack on target, and the Wraithlord failed his cover save and went down. The Stormies received the rest of the IG firepower attention, getting 1 autocannon, several lasgun and 1 battle cannon shots. Amazingly, only 1 Stormie dies (got lucky with cover this time, and his rolls were bad this round of shooting).

Alaitoc: It’s up to the Stormies now to salvage as many points as we can. They dashed 6” thru difficult terrain towards the nearest IG squad! Trying to maximize VP, snipers and starcannon wipe out 2 squads and reduce 1 more to under-half strength. Stormies only managed a 1” fleet movement! As the last 2 Stormies (the flamer dude and the Warlock) were still in difficult terrain, I needed to roll a “6” in order to charge the enemy and still retain coherency (disadvantage of the loose “ordnance” formation). I rolled a ‘1’ and a ‘2’. Game over.

Result: Fair Draw (!) (I actually lost the battle, but the IG guy didn’t have any fluff, was heavily penalized for army composition and only had undercoat + 1 base coat for half his army. Battle counts for 50% of tourney points, and the other areas managed to pull me to a draw)
Net battle VP: -550 (could have been worse, but my Fire Dragons and Stormies were above half-strength)
Tournament points: 1
 

Obviously I could have played that one much better.  In retrospect (always in retrospect), I should have deployed the first Wraithlord in the extreme left (where my Fire Dragon wave serpent sped up from) as the buildings totally blocked LOS. Likewise, I could have done the same with the Farseer. That would have put me into close combat with his left flank by turn 3 or 4, which would make a much closer game. O well, live and learn.

I ended up round 1 of the tourney at the top of my Group with 7 tourney points (the first 2 TAs helped).