Sunday night gaming is picking up. Recently, I got some table time against 1500 points of Joe's Kingbreakers Space Marines. We generated the mission randomly, and it turned out to be a classic: Annihilation with Pitched Battle deployment rules.
Joe's been playing his Kingbreakers for a while now, and he has a way of making Codex: Space Marines his own. His list included some of his signature units - Sternguard, drop pods, Land Speeders - as well as plenty of melta weapons. Heading up the list was the immensely powerful Vulkan He'stan. I brought Belial, five Deathwing squads, and a venerable Dreadnought to round out the points.
Joe's marines deployed in the classic "car park" formation and along a ridge in his deployment zone. He won the roll for deployment and first turn, so I hadn't decided how many units to hold in reserve for a Deathwing Assault when he positioned his forces. I considered holding everything and making a concentrated teleport attack, but we had a good spread of terrain on the table and I didn't bring any teleport homers, so I deployed all but one squad on the table. I remembered last week's game and made a better effort to support my squads this time, choosing to put the bulk of my army in a congested area on my right flank. I let Joe know when I was finished and waited for drop-pod delivered melta death.
Joe decided to attack the biggest concentration of my forces because it contained Belial, and so destroying one squad would yield double kill points. It's good to know the Master of the Deathwing serves at least one useful purpose, even if he's merely decent bait. In the middle of the field, a Deathwing squad with a storm shield-euipped member marched into the teeth of the Kingbreakers' gun line, shielding a shootier terminator squad in their wake. I also deployed another squad via deep strike on the weak end of his gun line in order to fierce him to make some decisions and take some of the pressure off the bulk of my assault units.
He took the bait, deploying his Sternguard with Vulkan via drop pod on top of my distraction unit, crushing the terminators utterly. The two squads advancing in the center fared a bit better; however, both squads (dubbed 'Squad Frontguys' and 'Squad Midguys') eventually made some bad armor saves and evaporated over the course of the game, giving Joe 3 kill points.
By turn 5, however, Belial, the Dreadnought, and two squads of terminators had munched through Joe's opening assault, claiming two drop pods, two Dreadnoughts, and two Land Speeders for a total of 6 kill points. I was poised to continue the assault, but to do so I would have had to engage some tough units that were firmly entrenched. If the random game length didn't favor me, I faced the distinct possibility of being tabled and handing Joe the win despite my commanding lead in kill points. So, I did what any Dark Angel would do - I made a tactical reversal of momentum. As my troops withdrew from Joe's reach into the dense terrain, I could see him adding numbers and measuring distances in his head. Deciding there was no way he could pull off a victory before the game ended, he conceded. Deathwing wins!
There were a lot of good lessons for me, mostly around the theme of taking damage. For one, I discovered that I had the wrong idea about wound allocation with regard to wounds that deny armor saves, and I was being too generous to my opponents. I also learned that a squad with a storm shield or two makes a great spearhead if the Deathwing is forced to walk. I'm getting a better idea of the damage deflection capabilities of terminator armor, learning what firepower to weather, what to avoid. It's coming along.
I'm upgrading this week's progress report, as I spent the weekend finishing a slew of bases as well as my Belial conversion. The deadline is still tight, but things are looking good.
Current tournament readiness grade: B+