Welcome fellow thowers of dice and brush brandishers, to the unstructured conclusion following my second game in our club 40K League. This won't take too long.
It appears that either I am much rustier than I believed initially, or that I have simply come up against the two best players in the club for games one and two. I am clinging doggedly to option two, and I have evidence to back this up, just so I know I am not fooling myself. In case you haven't already guessed from my opening, I lost game two...
My description of the game itself will be brief. We had diagonal deployment and 'The Relic' mission, which given the speed of my units didn't really suit my army, though the side of the table I chose ensured I had clear fields of fire to the Relic starting point at the centre of the table. This is something of a moot point however, as by the close of turn 3, I didn't have a thing left on the field. This should have made me sadder than it did, but it got to the point where it was so brutal it was actually funny. I thought so anyway...
The fact was simply that my army was outclassed. My opponent said himself during the game that his army of Salamanders was a time served tournament force, and so it was. Respect to him for the quality of his army selection.
Briefly, it comprised the following:
10 man Tactical Squad with Flamer, Multi-melta & Serg with Combi Flamer
10 man Tactical Squad with Plasma Cannon and Melta Gun & Serg with Combi Melta
2 Attack Bikes with Multi-meltas
2 Attack Bikes with Multi-meltas
As you can see, a highly optimised list that worked exactly as it was meant to, and lethal at 1000 points.
The dice didn't really work in my favour at some points, but they did at others, which is why I never blame the dice for a defeat. They do tend to balance out over time I feel. Also, I can't help how the dice fall, so I have to address the points that I do have influence over, namely things like deployment and target selection.
I felt my targetting priority was just fine, I just seemed to lack the ability to hit the targets I knew I needed to, namely the Attack Bikes. I surmised that if I could take out the Attack Bikes before I lost any tanks, the tanks would have pretty much free reign to take apart the rest of his army while the thirty man infantry squad claimed the Relic, shooting as they went under Officers orders.
As it turned out, it was the first time I had faced a Drop Pod, and didn't realise that they don't scatter when they deploy, so I thought I had my back line covered, and I really didn't. The result was that Vulkan and his unit screamed onto the batlefield in turn one and toasted my Chimera, Command Squad and two out of three Lascannons in one go, but more importantly, put multiple Flamers and a resilient combat guru (Vulkan) right in my back field.
Obviously what I learned from this is to deploy closer to my baseline when facing Drop Pods to prevent them from deploying behind me. If they had been normal Deepstrikers, they would have been taking a big risk trying to land in the spaces I had left in my deployment zone, so there's lesson one for next time.
Now I have to say that with my Chimera being wrecked by Bolter fire, but the Veterans mounted aboard passing their Panic check, it could have been worse at the start of my turn 1. As it turned out, the Veterans and Platoon Command Squad with their four Flamers and three Melta Guns between them teamed up to take out nine out of the 10 Tactical Marines that had landed with Vulkan in a single shooting phase. Unfortunately it took two more turns to take out the last Tactical Marine who assaulted into combat, and I failed to wound Vulkan at all, what with his pesky 3+ Invulnerable save!
While this was going on, the rest of my army proved incapable of damaging the Attack Bikes speeding towards me. I really felt the loss of the Lascannons at this point. The Attack Bikes started shooting at close range on their turn two, which saw me lose the Leman Russ and the Demolisher Shaken and unable to fire the Demolisher Cannon - the one weapon that would Instant Kill the Bikes! The Demolisher blew on turn 3.
Over the game I falied miserably to harm my primary targets, and fluffed so many 5+ Flak Armour saves it may as well have been tissue paper, and wet tissue paper at that. I have played two League Games so far, and have yet to get a single shot off with a Sniper Rifle.
So, things to remember for future games:
Deploying the army closer together worked well, but more consideration should be given to the armour deployment - I think I should stick with the idea I had when drawing the list up and keep the tanks and Chimera together as a strike force. At this size of game, concentration of AV14 front armour attack should be more difficult for the enemy to deal with than it has been so far.
Deploy closer to the back line when facing Drop Pods, forcing them to land in front of my lines.
Don't forget to order 'Incoming!' if keeping my guys alive is more important than killing the enemy at that moment in time, then order then back up with 'Get Back in the fight!'
I have three more League games to play.
Thanks for reading.