Friday, February 10, 2012

Tournament Game 1

My first game was against a very nicely painted Tyranids (he went on to win the best painted HQ, which was the painting contest for the tournament). His list was roughly as follows:

Hive Tyrant w/ bonesword, lash whip, Paroxysm and Leech Essence

Tervigon w/ whatever power grants FNP w/ toxin sacs and adrenal glands

10 Termagants w/ fleshborers

10 Hormagaunts w/ toxin sacs and adrenal glands

Trygon Prime

Doom of Malantai in mycetic spore

I've got a bit of experience against Nids, but not against experienced players. I've also never faced the Doom of Malatai before, so I was wary going into this game.

The mission was Annihilation with Spearhead deployment. My opponent won the roll-off and chose first turn. He deployed almost everything with good cover, in a very tight blob. The hormagaunts outflanked. I deployed with my tanks trying to line up shots on his Tervigon and Trygon, while my Assault Marines were on the right, ready to counter-assault and trying to get cover from the Doom of Malantai.

 Tyranid Turn 1 Movement

The Tyranids advanced into the cover in the center of the table. The Tervigon popped out a unit of 14 Termagants. Everything would have cover from my shooting.

My turn was pretty minimal. The Assault squads stayed in place and the Predators shifted slightly left to get better lines of sight on the Tervigon. The Baal's assault cannons took a wound of the Tervigon, as did the Predator's autocannon. Sadly, both the lascannon sponsons missed.

Turn 2 had all of the Tyranids advancing into the ruins. The Doom of Malantai dropped into the rocks right in front of my Assault squads, while the hormagants came on from my right next to an Assault squad. I lost a few models from the Doom's power, but nothing significant. The hormagaunts assaulted my forward Assault squad, without the Reclusiarch or Priest. Feel no pain let me whether that pretty well, and I killed off a few hormagaunts.

Beginning of Nids Turn 2. The Doom arrives.

The Hormagaunts arrive and prepare to assault the forward squad. The Doom is actually on top of the rock, but wouldn't balance there.
In my turn, the Predators maintained fire on the Tervigon. They took it down to one wound (the blasted lascannons both missed again). The Reclusiarch and Priest separated from their squad and charged in to attack the hormagaunts, wiping them out. The other Assault squad dropped back to the table edge to get out of range of the Doom and shot at it with meltaguns, but failed to kill it.

In Nid Turn 3, the Doom moved to the right to get more squads in range of his soul sucking. The Tervigon fell back into the ruins, while the Trygon and Tyrant advanced on the Predator and Baal respectively. One squad of Termagants moved up to shoot the Assault squad but did no damage. Only one Assault marine died to the Doom's power, but I took 2 wounds on my Reclusiarch and the Priest died (I hadn't had a movement phase since they left their squad, so they were their own unit and had to take a test, for which I rolled 14). The Trygon charged the Predator and demolished it (5 penetrating hits and 1 glance), while the Doom charged the rear Assault squad. Neither side did any wounds, as my Sergeant was unable to list his power fist.

In my turn 3, the Reclusiarch joined the Assault squad and they jumped over the rocks and assaulted the Termagants near the ruins, wiping them out. The Baal charged 12" forward, gunning down the Tervigon and trying to survive the inevitable charge by the Hive Tyrant. The Doom and Assault squad failed to harm each other again, and I wonder why I paid points for that power fist.

Turn 4 opened with the Tyrant charging the Baal and the Trygon and Termagants charged in to help the Doom. The Tyrant scored a single glancing hit and rolled a 5, destroying the tank. The Assault squad was butchered but the sergeant held on, though still could not wound the Doom.

My turn 4 was simply jumping the Reclusiarch's squad into the enemy deployment zone, purely out of spite. The Assault sergeant fighting the Doom finally died.

We ran out of time and ended the game there. He had 4 kill points and I had 3. However, the game was very close. Had he not killed the Baal or the Assault sergeant, or had the Sergeant ever managed to connect with his power fist and killed thee Doom, the game would have been a draw.

Lessons Learned:

While my battle plan worked reasonably well, I think it was fundamentally flawed. My army was way faster than my opponents, but I turtled up in the corner and let him dictate the engagement. Going second, I could have brought my Assault squads in by deep strike, making sure they were away from his assault troops and Doom, and gotten a decisive charge. I trust my Assault squads to each be able to take out a monstrous creature on the charge, and that would have given them a fighting chance to absorb his counter-charge. Had my tanks kept moving (I would have to give them space to move), they would have been able to stay out of reach of the swarm and worn them down.

1) I can't surrender the initiative with my Blood Angels. My speed is my greatest advantage; I can't just give it up because I think the enemy can out assault me.

2) I need more experience fighting Tyranids. I knew all of their abilities, but I still don't have a feel for how much damage they can do and can take. This would help my target priority.

That said, my opponent played a great game. He backed me into the corner and kept me pinned there, engaging me where he wanted. I managed to break out with the Reclusiarch and remnant of an Assault squad, but it was too little too late.

And though I say I'll never blame the dice (and I'm not; I was outplayed), I picked up a new block of dice after this game. They're more appropriate for Blood Angels anyway. Both my power fists and lascannons worked better for the rest of the tournament.


  1. Hey Necron Chris here. Another excellent battle report. Jon is a tough opponent and really knows how to play his nids at 1000pts. I was reading the lessons learned section, and i have to say i totally agreed. I have been trying to tell my brother James that one of the primary strengths of the Blood Angels codex is it's speed. Weather your playing DoA or mech its the speed of the army that can often be most decisive. Blood Angels are fast enough to dictate the flow of battle. Your also right with your first bullet. You must always be taking the initiative, always on the charge, always attacking, always moving. If your not, your seeding the initiative to the enemy, and thus ignoring one of your greatest tactical assets. Your also wasting furious charge if your not always assaulting your opponent, which means your only getting half of your points worth out of the Sang priests. Between the ability to deep strike with extreme precision, and being able to re-deploy to address new threats, BA is the epitome of speed. You have to use your mobility as a BA player to dictate the flow of battle, to decided where and when its fought. The movement phase is the only phase of the game that is not completely subject to the vagaries of dice and luck.

    P.S. Nice dice, for my necrons i use chessex dice that are a translucent green with white pips. They roll quite well for me.

  2. I totally agree. I sacrificed my speed in exchange for more shooting, and that let the Nids not only control the engagements but also get the charges. The charges that I did make destroyed their targets, but I was only able to charge two rather insignificant squads while the more dangerous models tore through my army.

    That said, Jon took great advantage of my turtling, kept the pressure on me, and attacked from every possible angle. It was excellent experience against a well built and played Tyranid army, something I needed.


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