Monday, 19 September 2011

NoVA Report: Part the Third

And now we come to the third NoVA post, and the last one detailing my tactical ineptitude during my sortie to the Americas.  Well, one America, anyway.

This hefty dose of Bad Strategy was brought to you by the Blood Angels and the letter F.  This guy was running a heavy mech list.  Two Stormravens, two Landraiders, a couple of bare-bones assault squads for the transport discount and a big-ol’ hammer unit in the form of Dante, a 10-man assault squad and Sanguinary priest, all unpleasantly inserted deep into my backfield.

The game was Dawn of War.  It was kill points and I got my arse handed to me, all because of Dawn of War.  I got first turn and set up in my usual way for this setup, my Haemonculus with his Wrack buddies in a Venom in the middle of the board.  The Hellions were all in non-deep striking reserve and all my remaining vehicles were speeding onto the board in turn 1.  My opponent reserved everything.  I find this disconcerting most of the time, because there’s no clear focus for my forces in the early game.  Also with the NoVA mission setup, all the objective markers are evenly distributed (one in the middle of each quarter, one in the middle of the board).  The upshot is that I am very unsure where to put the Webway Portal.  In a sense, it doesn’t matter, as with an all-reserve list, wherever I put the portal, the enemy will just scoot round and appear on the other side of the table.  Or I could lay the portal in the middle and take my chances.  But then again, that’s not the mistake I made this game.  The mistake I made that lost me the game was one of caution.

Now, normally, caution is something I recommend in Dark Eldar players.  The army’s aggressive, but too brittle to be blindly so.  As an army, if you can squeeze a little more survivability out of your units it tends to really help you survive to the endgame.  And that’s what I was trying to do.  My vehicles sped onto the board, flat out; my Haemonculus planted the portal and, when nothing turned up next turn, got back on his ride and pootled around the board for a bit.  With no targets to aim at in the first turn, the rest of my vehicles just sped around my backfield, never venturing over the halfway line.  I didn’t want to be caught by his reserves when they trundled onto the board and I wanted to limit the amount of viable targets for his big guns.  This caution was what killed me though.

Dante and his goons Deep-struck in, totalling a Ravager with their meltaguns and inferno-pistols.  That zero-deviation deep-strike is one hell of a scary proposition!  My army was well placed to take the squad down though, as I was packing so many lace and blaster shots that the Sanguinary priest provided no protection for his squad and everyone was reduced to toasty giblets in short order.  Unfortunately, they were just a distraction.  And they did their job excellently.

The heavy armour rolled onto the board and started to bring down my vehicles left right and centre and I was soon left with no ravagers to return fire and my Blaster Trueborn were too far away to respond.  They would make their way across half the board and then be stranded by the anti-tank fire coming from the Ravens and Raiders.  The Blood Angels were playing it cagey for the rest of the game, with all of his vehicles hanging back on his board edge, the Landraiders advancing just far enough so the squads inside could claim objectives, but then adamantly refusing to move.  There was no way I could get my tank-busting equipment anywhere near where they needed to be, and the assault squad were not obliging and refused to leave their vehicles, no matter how nicely I asked.  That was about turn 3 or 4, and that’s pretty much how it remained for the rest of the game.  He didn’t have the anti-personnel fire to take down my Hellions, but he didn’t need to.  They were no threat to him.  They could contest objectives if they wanted, but that wouldn’t help the kill point issue.  After taking down all my vehicles, he was quids in for a win, provided he didn’t do anything stupid.  And he didn’t.  You can never rely on you opponent being an idiot.  He went on to win the bracket, and deserved to, in my opinion, because he was a sharp and canny player, not just because his final round opponent were Grey Knights!

End of line.