So, from Bad Matchup and Bad Dice to Bad Strategy.
These games were more useful and less frustrating to me than the other two. Of course, it’s always annoying to realise that you could’ve won but for one thing you were too much of an idiot not to spot but it’s simultaneously a bit of a relief when the mistake comes to you and you file it away for later. Both my losses were attributable to single mistake in each game, and the snowball effect they started. I’ll start with the first game.
I got so much flak for losing this one. Nids versus Dark Eldar is a bad matchup for the gribblies most of the time. DE are one of the few armies that can gain an Initiative advantage without cover tricks and are packing so many poisoned weapons that Monstrous Creatures have a very hard time staying upright. Add to that the sheer manoeuvrability of the DE and you’d expect me to win. But you didn’t count on my tactical ineptitude. You should know better.
Part of the problem for me stemmed from the fact that I don’t know the Codex that well. I knew the old codex well-ish and I know a bit about most of the new book. That really wasn’t enough. I knew the units, but I didn’t know the Psychic Powers and I didn’t know the weaponry. There was one moment when I ignored a big squad of Termagants because I didn’t think Devourers were much better than Fleshborers. That was dumb. My army simply doesn’t have the resilience to survive mistakes like that and my Hellion were made to pay for that mistake. But these weren’t the big mistakes. The big mistake was using a tactic that I’d fallen into using all the time. My list centres around Hellions. Anyone who knows me in 40k will know this. It’s a recurring joke at my expense. I <3 Hellions; as Dean (from the Overlords) put it.
In the 2,000pts list, I have three squad of hellions, all large. I keep them all in reserve and set them to work when they turn up, either coming through the Webway or on the table edge. I use the Webway a lot (I barely ever make a list without it) and I’ll write a brief tactica on it at some point, but it’s not relevant to the point at hand. It’s the reserving Hellions that were the mistake. I normally reserve these guys so that my opponent can get closer and I can get them straight into assault from the off and not run the risk of them being shot to death. Or use them as a counter-assault to enemy tricks in my backfield or as close support to a threatened unit, etc. Reserving them also gives me a chance to crack some transports early in the game so they’ve got a viable target. Hellions can crack most transport vehicles in assault, but it’s not always easy, and its rarely ever reliable. Having them on the table from the beginning just clutters up my deployment and provides the enemy with more targets.
But I was playing against ’Nids. They don’t have vehicles. Everything is a viable target for my guys, and the amount of mid-range poison shots they can level will make a mockery of most of the units they look at. They should have been there, obliterating the alien menace in favour of the slightly different alien menace. My opponent had two squad of Genestealers infiltrating as close they could around my initial deployment. Stealers are undeniably represent a threat, but not necessarily a big threat. That threat is commonly used to detract fire from the bigger threats in the list, and in that capacity, they worked brilliantly, because I flung far too much firepower at the Genestealers instead of using it to take down the guy’s Tervigons, or his Hive Guard (which are utterly brutal when it comes to my army because they rely so much on cover), or his Zoanthropes. I was unable to do anything about those other threats in Turn 1 and they made their presence felt for the rest of the game. Had my hellions been set up during deployment, then the ‘Stealers really wouldn’t have mattered. The Hellions could have taken the squads out in a second, flat, with shooting and assault or (more cunningly) I would have used my guys to surround the Genestealers, cutting off their movement and forcing them to assault the squad through cover, while I unleashed 30+ poisoned shots at his hive guard (averaging 10 wounds on a 4+ save? Yeah, they’d be dead sharpish!) or at the spawning Tervigons.
I have more to write about this, but lunchtime’s over now. Stay tuned for more!
Or, you know, don’t.
That’s good too.