Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tournament Game 3

After talking over Game 2 with my opponent and scarfing down some empanadas for lunch (catered tournaments are an awesome idea), I was feeling a bit better and ready to redeem myself in Game 3. My opponent turned out to be a Blood Angels army, and he was playing a DOA list. Not only that, he was using Assault Terminators and running a list very similar to what I would run.

Libraian w/ jump pack, Blood Lance, Unleash Rage

10 Assault Marines w/ power fist, 2 meltaguns

10 Assault Marines w/ power fist, 2 meltaguns

5 Assault Terminators w/ 1 pair of lightning claws, 4 sets of thunder hammers and storm shields

Priest w/ terminator armor and power weapon

Priest w/ jump pack

The game was Capture and Control with Dawn of War deployment. Here's the table. I deployed on the near end.

While I was inexperienced against my first two opponents, this was an army that I not only had a lot of experience with but had essentially been playing since the latest Blood Angel codex dropped. I knew exactly how to play this one.

I can't remember who won the roll off, but it ended up with me taking second turn. My opponent held all of his units in reserve to deep strike and I declared that all of my units would move onto the board in turn 1.

My opponent's first turn didn't really exist since he kept everything in reserve. In my turn 1, I moved the Predators on at the center of my board edge, keeping their rears against the table edge. The Assault squads carefully bubble wrapped the tanks, with the squad with the Reclusiarch and Priest on the right and the other squad on the left.

My opponent's turn 2 only had one Assault squad, with attached Priest and Librarian, show up. He dropped it on the other side of the missile field, a good distance away from my army and with good cover.

In my turn 2, I advanced everything about 6". I kept the Baal carefully surrounded by Assault marines, but I exposed the Predator on the right flank. My goal was to try and draw in his squads to kill the Predator, allowing my Assault squads to counter-assault. I figured the Predator was expendable since my opponent didn't have any tanks to kill.

End of my Movement, Turn 2. Note the Predator on the right, exposed to deep strikers and just within melta range of his Assault squad.

In turn 3, my opponent got his other Assault squad from reserve, though the Assault Terminators stayed away. He dropped the Assault squad behind the rock outcrop on the left. The Assault squad with the Librarian jumped toward the Predator and launched a Blood Lance and one meltagun at it, but failed to do any damage (the meltagun was over half range).

In my turn 3, I jumped the Reclusiarch's squad toward his Assault squad with Librarian. My Predators relocated to get better lanes of fire on the Assault squad on the left, while the Assault squad moved to cover them from assault. In an impressive display of shooting better than anything else they did this tournament, the Predators gunned down 5 members of the Assault squad behind the rocky outcropping. The Reclusiarch and his squad charged into the Assault squad with Librarian. When the dust settled, only the enemy Sergeant was still standing. He held and we stayed locked in combat.

A view of my army as I launch the assault.

Close-up of the beginning of the assault.

And the bloody aftermath.

My opponent's turn 4 opened with his Assault Terminators arriving. He dropped them near my Predator and Assault squad locked in combat, but they scattered into the combat and mishapped. A 1 was rolled on the mishap table and the squad was destroyed. He jumped his remaining Assault marines back towards his objective, while his Sergeant was cut down in assault and my squad consolidated toward his objective.

In my turn 4, I jumped the Reclusiarch's squad toward my opponent's objective while the other squad moved onto my objective to secure it. I moved my Predators all out to gain line of sight on the enemy objective, but the standard Predator immobilized itself on a crater.

The end of my Turn 4. The other Assault squad is off the bottom right of the picture, holding my objective.
At this point, my opponent decided to concede the game. We spent a bit of time talking about his army and how he could have played this game.

Lessons Learned

I essentially played this game as countless other marine players have reacted to my own Blood Angel army. I turtled up, let him come into assault range, and counter-assaulted with unreasonable force. I think I played this about as well as I could, but I want to discuss things I think my opponent could do better. I was very happy to see another DOA player and I'd like to provide any help that I can.

1) He took the bait and came for my Predator. That was a long shot since he was out of half melta range, and not worth exposing his Assault squad to getting assaulted.

2) He also dropped his second Assault squad too far from the first for it to benefit from FNP or to support his Librarian's squad in assault. Jump Blood Angels really benefit greatly from deploying together tightly.

Really, I think those were the mistakes that cost him the game. I want to be very clear that I'm not trying to criticize here. I've made the exact same mistakes many, many times. As a DOA army, the hardest enemies are those that stay in a compact formation, provide you no good deep strike targets, and counter-assault.

I want to add that I think his Terminator deep strike was the correct move. He was already on the back foot; a conservative deep strike wouldn't have been enough to make a real difference. If things aren't going well, an aggressive deep strike may turn the battle around. If you mishap, like he did here, it doesn't make the situation worse. That said, I don't think it would have won him the game but it would have required me to assault in with the Reclusiarch's squad and likely resulted in the destruction of both squads. That would have really hurt my offensive and probably have resulted in a draw.

This game also reminded me why I switched from a Librarian to a Reclusiarch. Blood Lance is too unreliable, and the Librarian folded as soon as he was in combat, while the Reclusiarch buzzsaws through enemy squads.

That said, my opponent played a fun game and kept his cool when the game was going against him. He's dedicated to improving his game, and refused to take back any missed actions or mistakes even when I suggested he could. That's a great attitude to have, and I look forward to playing him again and seeing his army and playing style evolve.


  1. I liked reading all 3 battle reports.

    Thanks for putting these up!

  2. No problem. I'm happy that you're enjoying them. I've got one more game to write up, and then I plan a post discussing what I learned in the tournament overall.

  3. James said that he had made a couple of very bad decisions in this game, including falling for what was obviously bait. He is still learning how to play his army though, so I told him to take it as a lesson not to do what your opponent wants you to do. All of your points at the end where very helpful for him,and he really appreciates the advice and moral support you and the other BA players have given him. I told him that DoA is a very hard army to tactically grasp and use to it's full extent, so it's going to take him some time to master and a bit of luck to win a tourney with. I think once he masters it though he will find it a rewarding and deep army.

  4. I'm very happy he found it helpful. I really think he's got the basics down, and his army design always looks good. A bit more experience and he'll probably be giving me advice.

    I agree that DoA has a really steep learning curve. Despite being a Marine army with FNP, it's easy for your opponent to really punish you for any mistakes you make. The army is pretty much always in your opponent's threat range, so a small mistake in placement can cost you a unit. They're also really reliant on getting the charge, and losing an important charge can destroy their momentum.

    Even so, I have more fun playing my current army than any army I've ever used (including the previous editions of BA). They're amazingly fast and flexible, and if played right will steamroll the opponent with a series of brutal assaults.


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