I played a Vassal Game today.
You know, I keep expecting my list to perform worse and worse as I get into more competitive lists, but I guess I need to go farther first (I don’t know how the DDP game is going to go as neither list can really use their normal strategies. Just my luck, it’ll end up being Kill-Points or something. Anyway, the most recent one was against the PotMS list. Not Marshal Learoth’s, mine.
The reason I played against my own version was because I looked at them both, and decided that the 5 Crusader Squads and 3 Vindicators was a preferable choice to 6 Crusader Squads and 3 Predators. For two reasons. One, the Vindicators with PotMS fit better with the rest of the list (however you work it, Predators do have to choose between static or not very good, whereas the Vindicators could move and fire to full effect every round which matched my idea of how the list should be used). Two, in Marshal Learoth’s list the Razorbacks don’t have Extra Armor, which allows them to not only still shoot when they get shot (barring destruction and weapon destroyed) but also move (take that Stunned results!) and, once again, I valued the greater mobility over the extra Crusader Squad.
In hindsight, I think that Marshal Learoth’s list would have done better, the Vindicators hardly did anything besides kill a Drop Pod and shake both Dreadnoughts in one shot (well, they also killed a few Terminators, another Drop Pod, and distracted both a Dreadnought and a Terminator Unit for several turns), Extra Armor only ever affected the Dreadnoughts, really, and the Meltaguns in the Crusader Squads were some of the most valuable weapons.
Now I can’t do a full battle-report (as I didn’t think of taking screen shots until the 4th turn and I don’t want to tackle a fully written one until I’m more comfortable doing at least some) but I can do my best. So here goes:
Roll-off to see who gets the first choice; PotMS wins and chooses to go second (to maximize the turns that they can damage the Drop Pod list). Drop Pod list chooses to play Kill Points (something I was trying out); Deployment is Dawn of War.
T1 and T2. PotMS deploys nothing at first but everything moves on T1. I knew that the Vindicators would do some serious damage if they could be kept alive, so I moved them on at full-speed ahead behind a hill in the corner, all in a line, with Razorbacks covering their flanks and rear (just in case). Now only the front armor showed and if the Razorbacks were targeted, oh well. The fifth Razorback provided obscurment to the Typhoons. This turned out to be very, very bad as I’ll point out later. Drop Pod gets most of their units, both Dreadnoughts, Terminator Command Squad, and four Crusader Squads which they began to place, with the Dreadnoughts easily reaching the Vindicators and Crusader Squads either ready to engage the enemy or laying down early fire with their Plasma Guns. Immediately, a Vindicator is killed as well as a Typhoon and a Razorback is immobilized. Next the PotMS list goes, and they realize that their awesome Mobility (you know, that 12” a turn while firing at full effect) is useless, because there are only two ways out from the deployment trap laid down by the Drop Pods. One of those avenues has a spot of Difficult Terrain (which Immobilizes a Razorback) and the other leads right past a Crusader Squad (two, actually) before you can get to the rest of the board. Their shooting is mostly ineffective (the Vindicators do some damage and a few other Drop Pods are taken hurt but nothing serious) while they try to escape the trap; their Typhoons (the two remaining ones) had gone flat out and were in the open.
T3. Everything else but one Typhoon comes down. And lots of damage is done. One Vindicator is left without a gun and immobilized, the other is immobilized but still has it’s gun, two Razorbacks are gone, two others are Immobilized, one Typhoon no longer has a Missile Launcher and the other is Immobilized, various troops are dead and the others can’t really do anything. Granted, they’ve killed a few Drop Pods and a Typhoon but still no serious damage has been dealt. Well, that’s not quite true. A Crusader Squad does charge the Terminator Command Squad and wipe it out entirely with Power Weapon attacks, poor rolling on the Terminators part, and horrible attempts at saving against Fearless wounds (I hate being fearless in Close Combat). By the way, that particular Crusader Squad goes on to claim another Kill-Point or two (in addition to the two that it just got) and it took way too much to kill them. Spoiler! They die on turn 5.
T4. The Vindicators are finally finished off, as well as two more Razorbacks and the Immobilized Typhoon. I think a few Infantry are killed, and a Dreadnought assaults the Crusader Squad with the Emperor’s Champion and kills a guy, but nothing dramatic or anything. Anyway, a Drop Pod or two are killed, Crusader Squads are assaulted (and survive, impressively), and that’s about it.
T5. That Crusader Squad that killed the Terminators? It has since assaulted another Crusader Squad which is barely holding on (one guy left) and I don’t want them to claim that kill point (or if they do, pay for it). I’ve got two more Crusader Squads not doing anything (nothing left alive near them except for this Crusader Squad), and so they both charge into the combat (along with my Emperor’s Champion). Rolling is not kind to me, and I barely do any damage (enemy squad lives, that one guy does not). The Dreadnought pings off another guy from the Squad the enemy Emperor’s Champion is in, and I make a fatal error with my Terminator Squad. It charges two enemy Crusader Squad. Since they go first, I grab the dice they will be rolling. It’s more than when a single enemy unit charges, by one Power Weapon attack. They kill all but one-two of the Terminators, who then deal paltry damage in return (either it was one Terminator left, or it was two and one died to fearless wounds. Did I mention that I hate being fearless in Close Combat?). What’s worse is that I didn’t have to assault both Crusader Squad, and the one I didn’t need to assault was already fleeing (failed Righteous Zeal Test), which would have meant half of the Power Weapon attacks and almost half of the regular attacks. Anyway. All of the PotMS vehicles are gone, they do almost nothing in Close Combat (I believe that I finish off that darn Crusader Squad) and the round ends. A 6, next turn begins.
T6. A Dreadnought assaults one of those Crusader Squads that killed my Terminators, and nearly destroys them outright (and they have nothing to use against the Dreadnought). Another dead guy in the Emperor’s Champion squad (now it’s just him and the Dreadnought), and I do very little else besides shuffle my Typhoons. His single free Crusader Squad runs away from the scary Dreadnought (I was getting ready for another charge) and his Emperor’s Champion shakes my Dreadnought. Begin Turn 7.
T7. I realize that I should rush my own Emperor’s Champion down to try and kill his off, but since he didn’t move last round he is 1 inch to far. I shoot his final Crusader Squad to nothing, and am unable to kill his Emperor’s Champion. His turn begins, he shakes my Dreadnought for the third time in a row (two of those were actually stunned results. Extra Armor FTW!). I roll to hit. No hits. I realize that a 4 actually does hit (stupid confusing To-hit assaulting table) and so I did get one hit. It wounds. He fails his Invulnerable Save. Instant Death and I win by annihilation.
So there you have it, almost a battle report (except that you don’t know where everything is going on). Next time I promise to take some Screen-shots and do this properly.
Now I’ve noticed a few things about my list. The first is that it kills things. It kills them dead. I don’t know exactly why but I know that it helps to be guaranteed the first shots. Since I drop down, the first time my opponent has a chance to target me is when I’ve already fired at him, which gives me both the advantage you get from going first (first to deal damage) as well as the advantage you get from going second (proactive reaction to the opponent plus being able to decide where I want to fight after he’s already dedicated units). The Heavy weapons don’t benefit from this, but so far only about one or two Crusader Squads per game don’t get to fire their Heavy Weapons, but when they do it doubles their effectiveness (or better).
I’ve also learned where my list could potentially be defeated (now that I know how to use it). If the opposing list spreads out then I can’t box them in to deny them their mobility and their range/LoS, and this was a mistake that I made not only with the PotMS list but also with the Templarbubble list, the All-Comers list, and, to an extent, the Dual-Raider list. Since I can deny them their mobility as well as the number of units they can target (usually not the ideal ones) I gain the upper-hand and can basically do what I want (the win is less under my control though). This includes eliminating rock units, killing their most valuable guns, denying them the chance to assault me (most of the time). This advantage turns a matched contest into a slaughter. In all four games I had close to (I think) half of my army left, while they had a few models (or less). Most of those lists were Close Combat ones, so they should have been in their element, but because of my Drop Pods and abundance on Melta Weaponry (I’m very tempted to try and fit Meltaguns into my list instead of Plasma Guns, but it just wouldn’t be as effective most of the time and I’d need to find those 24 points with no where to really pull them from) they aren’t able to get the charges they need the most, or I intercept them with a Dreadnought, and the list could continue. So, from next time I’m going to try and spread out the forces. This does mean that it’s more difficult for each unit to support the others and it could have complications if I play objectives, but it does mean that the Drop Pod list won’t be able to swamp the enemy units and bottle them up, which gives them a chance.
I’ve had some thoughts about what seems to really work and what doesn’t work as well as I thought it would in my list, but I think I should save that for another post. I also have an idea for one about how to win games, but that will also be in another post.