Slay Ride RTT - Part 1

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

This past weekend I was able to try out the new Space Marines codex at 'Slay Ride', an annual tournament event run by one of the local game clubs, the Maryland Wargaming Collective -- this is the second MWC event I've attended and it was an absolute blast! They are a great group of gamers so if you're local you should definitely check them out. This was a 3 round, 2250pt tournament with double Force Org and Forge World permitted. What really made this event unique were the special stratagem cards (which were earned the first time an objective was claimed & held for 1 player turn); these cards varied in ability and duration but just to give you an idea, some granted +1/-1 to reserves for a turn, or Skyfire/Interceptor to a unit for the entire game, OR in rare but extremely awesome circumstances you could earn a card that grants Special Issue Ammunition to a unit for the duration of the Tournament! This definitely added some flavor to the games and encouraged players to factor in potentially game-changing abilities into their strategies -- hiding/castle-ing in a corner was far more risky as your opponent could end up snagging all those valuable stratagems. This led to much more active and exciting matches.

My Army List

I knew I wanted to try out the new Marine codex, just wasn't sure whether I would take Khan and his White Scars, Shrike with Raven Guard, or some combination thereof. I was also giving the Iron Hands a look with their new Clan Raukaan supplement; some very interesting wargear relics and warlord traits. In the end, I just had to try out an HQ with Gorgon's Chain! I also love the idea of It Will Not Die on a bunch of dreadnoughts and vehicles. The following clocks in at 2248pts:

Captain - Bike, Gorgon's Chain, Power Sword, Melta Bombs
Master of the Forge - Bike

Bikes x8 - Sgt. w/ Power Fist, 2 Meltas, Multi-melta Attack Bike
Bikes x5 - 2 Grav-guns
Tacticals x10 - Plasmagun, Lascannon, Drop Pod
Scouts x5 - Sgt. w/ Power Fist, Land Speeder Storm w/ Heavy Flamer

Dreadnought - Multi-melta, DCCW w/ Heavy Flamer, Drop Pod
Dreadnought - Multi-melta, DCCW w/ Heavy Flamer, Drop Pod
Assault Terminators x5 - 3 Thunder Hammer / Storm Shield, Land Raider Crusader w/ Multi-melta

Storm Talon - TL Lascannon

Thunderfire Cannon
Dreadnought - 2 TL Autocannons

Aegis Defense Line w/ Quad gun

I ended up not using an extra FOC, FW, or even allies. I probably should have kept a bike detachment using White Scars chapter traits (the 'Hit and Run' would have definitely come in handy) but kept things simple with straight Iron Hands. I focused more on shooty units since they are quicker to interact with and chess clocks were in effect (1 hour per player), but I mainly just wanted to try a variety of units from my previous marine lists under the new rules. So with that, on to game 1!

Game 1

The first mission was the Scouring with Dawn of War deployment. I was facing a pretty nasty Eldar army that had 4 wave serpents, a wraithknight, an autarch with mantle, fire prism, wraithguard, fire dragons, a couple squads of guardians, and a farseer with warlocks on bikes. I won the roll off and elected to go second due to the mission; I also combat squadded the bikes and tacticals so it could be possible to capture all 6 objectives.

My opponent was pretty nervous about my grav toting bikes, so he deployed rather defensively with most of his force protecting the 4 pt objective on his side of the board. I took a few wounds from his initial volley but nothing my tough 'feel no pain' Iron Hands couldn't handle -- haha, I didn't roll a single successful 'feel no pain' check the entire day, but the illusion of this added toughness kept my spirits high! I almost lost my 5 man grav squad but one survived to turbo off behind a wall (and later snag the 1pt objective).

My 2 drop dreads aim straight for high point objectives. One flames a squad of guardians that had captured the 4pt and the other cuts off and flames the autarch, farseer, and warlocks on bikes. My land raider and melta bikes move to the center of the board to add to the pressure my dreadnoughts had instigated.

My VIPs of this game were those 2 dreadnoughts who refused to die, holding up the Eldar's ability to focus on objectives and taking the heat off the rest of my army so they could do just that. Between them and my terminators taking ALL the heat of those serpents, fire dragons, wraithknight, autarch, etc, the rest of my army was able to isolate and take down his scoring units piecemeal.

The bottom of turn 2 my Captain closes in and challenges the Farseer (his warlord) tying him up for a couple rounds, eventually defeating him then drawing the attention of the mantled autarch. Being toughness 5 with feel no pain, Gorgon's Chain, and It Will Not Die makes for an extremely durable warlord! I only wish I could have spared the points to make him a Master with a Power fist ;)

As the rest of the game unfolded, the Eldar just couldn't get past the roadblocks thrust on them from the initial drop. I also have to say, my opponent rolled extremely below average for his serpent shield attacks although his holo-fielded jink saves were rock solid keeping all 4 serpents alive to the bitter end. Forcing his attention on my throw away Elite units allowed my Troops to survive and end up holding 5 out of 6 objectives by the end of the game (missed out on one of the 2 pointers) -- that plus First Blood, Warlord, and Line breaker brought me close to max battle points for round 1! At this point I'm loving how durable this list can be and Drop pods + Bikes mean you can get anywhere you need to be.

Game 2

Game 2 saw me facing a fierce Space Wolf drop army: 6 pods, 3 units of long fangs, 4 las/plas razorbacks, wolf guard, a couple squads of grey hunters and some scouts, and of course a pair of rune priests with Jaws and living lightning... yikes! I knew this was going to be a tough one. My opponent won the roll off and eagerly declared he would go first -- this makes sense for a drop list like his, not to mention the 15 missile launcher fangs positioned in ruins with open fire lanes to almost anywhere on the board. While I probably would have made the same decision if I were playing his list, deep down (as his opponent with a decent chunk of bikes and an outflanking land speeder storm with scouts) I was quite happy with going second and taking the last turn. The mission was Big Guns Never Tire, 4 objectives, with Hammer and Anvil deployment. The 4 objectives were roughly near the center of each table quadrant. Knowing his army was going to hit hard off the bat, I decided to reserve both bike squads and the scouts of course, and didn't combat squad anything as I would need larger squad sizes to withstand the amount of dakka his list could put out.

I lose my rifleman dread and my land raider on his first drop. But my terminators were able to retaliate by wiping his unit of wolf guard (and eventually taking out the hunter squad that busted my dread).

I also lose a few from my tactical squad from combined shooting and those blasted rune priests and their dumb powers 8)

Unfortunately my VIPs from last round (the drop dreads) decided to sit this round out, unable to hit the huge line of razorbacks and only managing to kill 1 long fang before going belly up.

The next turn sees a couple more pods come down targeting the exposed terminators and my tac squad behind the aegis. I end up losing a couple terminators, all but 2 from the tac squad, and lose control of my own quad gun this turn. Things were not looking good.

My Storm Talon decides to show up just as the wolves were beginning to point it back on my own units, but luckily is able to skirt by without any damage. The small bike squad with grav-guns and the attached MotF also shows up seeking to reclaim the defense line and bail out the 2 remaining tac marines who briefly decided to flee. My other larger unit of bikes head towards my 2 remaining terminators who were doing all they could to hold off the wolves from the objective on that side. The outflanking storm arrives and burns up half a unit of long fangs holding a nearby objective.

His razorbacks respond by blowing the speeder out of the sky pouring my scouts into the ruins with the weakened fangs. Between Jaws and more las/plas fire he's finally able to dispatch my terminators. His last unit in reserves, the wolf scouts, also showed up and destroyed my thunderfire cannon who was holding the only objective I had at the time. He had 3 objectives to my zero with the scouts and long fangs contesting the 4th objective going into my turn 4.

My scouts charge in and finish off the long fangs, then consolidate onto an objective. Both bike squads close in to reclaim the objective behind my defense line and whittle down the scoring space wolf units near my deployment zone.

The space wolf army had dictated the entire game but the tide began to turn at the end of turn 4. He tried to shoot my scouts off but they were able to hold making most of their cover saves. On the last turn my 2 remaining tac marines reclaim the objective lost by my thunderfire. The bike squads move to engage the last rune priest and grey hunter holding the objective near my land raider debris. It came down to an epic assault phase and my Captain and power fist wielding bike sgt were able to wipe the remaining wolves, earning me a 3rd objective as the game came to an end! Once again, having the last turn of the game enabled me to secure a decisive but extremely hard fought victory. Keeping the bikes and scouts off for the initial onslaught was also key as I was able to hit his weakened units with my full strength ones and have more scoring models alive towards the end of the game. Mobility wins games and that certainly rang true in this match. But that also wouldn't have been possible without the durability of the rest of the list withstanding the space wolf wrath of those early turns; and trust me, there were a couple moments where I thought he might wipe me before my calvary has time to show up. This ended up being a really fun and suspenseful match, and it was really enjoyable having a list that was flexible enough to go from fighting serpent spam in round 1 to facing an even scarier alpha striking wolf list and coming out on top.

I found myself tied for first place with the most battle points heading into the last round on table 1! But this post is long enough so I'll cliff hang you here and cover the final match in a later post ;)

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