Friday, January 25, 2013
Thoughts on Dark Angels and Recap on game vs them
Yesterday evening I was fortunate enough to be able to get a game in with my Chaos SM vs. the new kids on the block, Dark Angels. We played at an 1850 pts level, so I took a slightly toned down version of my 2k list which I took to the RTT last Saturday (essentially less 1 squad of plague bearers, some upgrades on hq's and some flamers) and my opponent (Matt) took:
Libby, psyke level 2, force axe, on a bike, who rolled the 4+ invuln ability
Ravenwing command squad , apothecary, grenade launcher and destruction (salvo) banner.
2x 6 Ravenwing Attack Squadron w/ 2 plasma + MM attack bike
2x 6 Ravenwing Attack Squadron w/ flamers + MM attack bike
Primarus Psyker (rolled endurance, so the entire blob had FNP in addition to a 4+ invuln, what a pain in the butt!)
IG blob w/ a bunch of power axe sargs, 2x meltabomb.
We played the new Nova Open Crusade mission. Which while at first seemed odd, was actually rather nice. It's a 5 objective mission with a secondary of quarters. It has an interesting twist that if a squad is capturing or contesting an objective, it doesn't count towards quarters. This I actually found to be a rather nice touch and made me appreciate that it required more tactical flexibility than just parking your butt on an objective and capitalizing it to win.
Deployment was vanguard.
He went first, deploying his blob stretched out across his deployment area, with his bikes pressed up against the very front line. I'll note now, that Matt failed to read the book all the way through and didn't realize that the attack bikes are not actually part of the bike squads, so played turn 1 as if they were until I pointed it out. (While it was just one turn, it does have a significant impact overall, as he could have done things like melta the maulerfiend, or hung back to go to objectives to contest / control ect).
I deployed flatly across in some area terrain with my spawn, maulerfiend, hq's and oblits, reserving everything else. I tried to seize but failed.
He moved his bikes over 12, and proceeded to use the salvo banner to dakka me at 24 inches with 3 out of the 4 bike squads. Their torrent was more than ample to remove all 5 (who were in cover remember) of my regular spawn + kill the juggernaut lord.... le sad face. His blob walked / ran towards board middle.
I rolled my preferred wave and came in with Screamers and the Masque (flamers + plague bearers in reserve). I moved forward into assault position to hit 3 out of 4 of the bike squads. A maulerfiend into one squad, both oblits into another, plague spawn into the final. I broke the sorcerer off to use his flamer on the command bike squad to try and knock out the salvo banner. So rolling for shooting, the oblits killed two guys, the sorcerers burning brand didn't even hurt the command squad despite having 3 hits(doh!). Luckily the screamers made their overpass hits ending behind the command squad and killed the apothecary and salvo banner! Woo bullet dodged there. Also the Masque was sneaky and pavaned his guard blob backwards 4 inches.
Everyone made their charges, I killed one or two guys in each squad and then Matt passed all his hit and runs and got away.
Matt came at me hard, nuking the maulerfiend, tying up the screamers in combat with the command squad after dakkaing them down to a very reasonably bite sized portion with fire from both the command squad and another bike squad. My maulerfiend went boom with two attack bikes. The up until this point not engaged fourth bike squad killed the masque with a ton of dakka. He then charged the screamers with the command squad and the bike squad (which failed its charge range) and despite my screamers having 15 attacks to throw at him, failed to wound even once (he didn't even have to roll saves). Utter fail. So I lost some screamers. The sorcerer died to shooting from two squads of bikes.
My turn, dragon + flamers came in, as well as two squads of cultists (one walks onto my objective, the other walks into board middle and tries to dakka an attack bike hanging out by itself) and the plaguebearers. Plaguebeares deep strike near the objective in his deployment zone and stand around admiring the scenery. Dragon vector strikes the up until this point unharmed 4th bike squad killing a few, and then flames another bike squad down to a single guy(the one which fail its charge against the screamers). The flamers shoot at a three man bike squad eliminating it. Then my plague spawn multicharge the screamer combat and the single biker left from the flaming bit, they manage to clear the combat. Both oblits fire assault cannons into nearby squads doing a few wounds. Both oblits charge as follow ups, one dies to overwatch, the other gets in and kills the squad it charged.
So on my turn, I eliminated 4 bike squads, resulting in a very lucky reversal in fortune for me. All he has left at this point are two or three attack bikes, and 3-4 bikers w/ flamers.
Matt moves his flamer bikes over and eliminates one of my cultist squads. Two or three bikes fire melta guns at the dragon, missing. His guard blob moves closer then dakkas my screamer squad to death.
On my turn, I use the dragon to vector strike an attack bike killing it, then flamethrower torch his platoon command squad killing two guys (they pass leadership). My flamers eliminate the remaining bike squad. The remaining oblit kills another attack bike. My spawn run run run far away from the guard blob to see how it's going to play out. Also my last cultist squad comes in which I deploy on my far left board edge to move towards that objective. My plaguebears move after the platoon squad, and then assault and kill it.
Guard blob runs runs runs towards the middle / my flamers. The last attack bike shoots my oblit in the face killing it.
I move my cultists/ plaguebears towards or onto objectives. I set up my flamers next to his guard blob and flame the hell out of it causing 22 wounds, of which he fails 10. (That's a 4+ invuln and a 5+ FNP). So not awful or anything. My plague spawn kill the last attack bike and move towards the middle.
Guard blob assault the flamers, Matt forgets he has Furious Charge as a warlord trait, so he only ends up doing like 4-5 wounds with the entire blob(minus 6-7 guys not in combat range) + Azreal vs. the flamers. We remembered right after we finished rolling, so I removed an extra guy as a consolatory move. leaving two wounded flamers and one whole flamer.
On my turn, everything just hangs out on objectives, spawn sit near the middle essentially waiting to charge the guard blob, as in the following turns no doubt he would seek to spread out to control + contest objectives + break Azrael off to kill some of my troops. Essentially forcing guardsmen to consolidate into the spawn to keep them off of an objective / contesting any objectives. Flamers die in combat, game is rolled to continue but we stop and then just play the hypothetical game for the following turns as it's more of just beating a dead horse at this point.
So it was a really fun game, both of us had moments of despair at our sudden losses, and dizzying heights of glory at our success's!
Overall the DA / IG combo seemed to be extremely effective, I can see this list, or a list like it, winning events in the near future.
The combination of fast moving relentless bikes, with the 4 shot salvo, is devastating to say the least. Being twin linked, epic, not to mention it really helped he had preferred enemy vs. me for wounding. I can see the banner being a staple in ravenwing lists, while expensive and easy to snipe out, it's one of those things that's almost to good to pass up. I think it requires better protection though if its going to be used. As that squad has skilled rider, a darkshroud to make them have a 2+ (5+ normal jink, 4+ for skilled rider, 2+ for shrouded) might make them far more survivable, especially combined with FNP.
I'm going to reference what I started with, in order to make this work properly I think some drop podding tacticals and/or deep striking deathwing might be a real necessity, to provide turn 1 or 2 pressure units to protect said salvoing ravenwing. While you can't easily stop someone from sniping a dude out of a 4 man squad, you can make it so the other player has to make a bad decision either way.
If you are running blob guard, I'd say stick them out front and use them as a giant shield for the bikers. It'd be effective and super annoying to deal with. Azrael is a champ in CC, have him some where near the front, and you'll make a lot of people regret getting in their way.
Dark Angels is a good book, it seems balanced in the same way Chaos SM feels. I'm looking forward to seeing what other ideas come out if it. As I like fast moving armies (in case that wasn't obvious!), I'm leaning towards the ravenwing side of the book, it feels more flexible overall. Terminators I actually really dislike, when your dice roll hot, they are wonderful, but sometimes you just roll a ton of 1's in a row and it can be a real pain in the butt. Terminators as such a point sink, it really hurts to lose every one of them. Not that the ravenwing are really that much cheaper, but at least they give you mobility and lots of firepower.