Round 1 was against a pure Deathwing army led by Belial and Ezekiel. My opponent, Rob, was a pleasure to play against and our game was full of exciting twists and turns up to the very end. It was a great game to start the tournament with and probably the closest match I’ve ever had with my bike army! Deployment was Pitched battle with objectives as the primary mission. Rob won the roll off and decided to go first. We each place one objective, both ending up in ruins within our own deployment zones. Rob deployed everything except a lone squad of terminators which would come down on me turn one using Deathwing assault. I deploy everything into cover as best I can except for my HQ’s/Command squad and 2 bike squads who were outflanking.
The deep striking terminators land directly in front of my vindicators just outside of 1” range, avoiding a roll on the mishap table, but still within difficult terrain treated as dangerous terrain that ends up killing a model (maybe 2...) on the way in. The rest of his army advanced towards my side of the board while unleashing a devastating amount of cyclone missiles into my only 3 targets with armor values, rendering them all shaken/stunned and therefore useless. Unlike Nova terrain, there was very little if any blocking line of sight pieces on the board (the ruins/buildings you see in the pictures all have windows) so no where to hide! I didn't even get a chance to use (move OR shoot) my tanks until game 3 :-/
That's what vindicators do; they generate a huge amount of threat and soak up a lot of shooting which is still a good thing for my bike squads. But boy, it sure would have been nice to drop an AP2 pie plate or two onto those blobs of terminators though ;)
On my turn, I move my 2 bike squads out from behind the tanks to put some plasma, melta and everything else that could shoot into the looming terminators that are about to bring their hammers down on my demolisher cannons. Despite all those shots, 3++ storm shields are hard to eliminate. I brace for the inevitable turn 2 charge.
As you can see, one tank exploded and the other had its cannon destroyed in addition to being immobilized (read: both destroyed). I was able to finish off the remaining two terminators but the damage was already done. My bikes on the left started eating some krak shots this turn as well, but thankfully all the special guns held their ground. In the top left you can see the cavalry arriving with a turboboost from the left side.
But I was about to make a big mistake with them. On my next turn I misjudged their reach and fell short of launching my assault by a half inch. Fail. By the time I realized how close it was going to be it was already too late to break Khan away to use his special fleet move; then again I'm not sure him going into assault by himself with a squad of Deathwing would have been a great position to be in either.
On the other side of the board I brought on some reinforcements to start putting shots into the advancing terminator squad that contained Belial and Ezekiel, trying hard to defend my right side and the objective my scouts were sitting on. There was also a threat in the middle and I was down to just 2 bikes guarding that passage into my deployment zone.
My last bike squad zoomed on from the left edge, heading for the opposite side hoping to bail out my weakened squads.
After my command squad weathered the charging terminators, I pulled off a Hit & Run hoping to turn around my earlier error. I was also able to focus fire my remaining units on the more immediate threats to my objective and cleared out the center terminator squad and put more wounds into Belial's unit. By the end of turn 6 I had lost my entire command squad but was able to reclaim one of my secondary objectives (the last case of beer which was originally with Khan) with that last bike squad on the left. I also managed to take down Belial and the rest of the terminators with him, bringing the game down to a final assault with Ezekiel. I charge in with my few remaining bikes on my right side but couldn't take the librarian down. Tied on objectives, the game came down to victory points; I had 1327 to Rob's 1391. It doesn't get any better than that! I lost, but again it was a very enjoyable game. I was really happy with how my bikes worked together, and against an army of terminators, rapid fire plasma is amazing and really helped make up for my lack of ST 10 AP 2 large blast goodness. Great game, Rob!