Saturday, November 26, 2011

Battle Summary: Death Guard vs. Grey Knights (1500 points)

Mission: Annihilation pitched battle.

Table: 6' x 4'.  Sparse terrain on a red desert planet with some craters and line-of-sight blocking pinnacles.  No ruins to speak of though.

Opponent -- Grey Knights:
Mordrak, 5 Ghost Knights, 5 halberds
Librarian: warp rift, teleport homer (and some other powers that I don't quite recall)
2 x 5 Terminators: Master crafted hammer, 3 halberds, 1 sword, 1 psycannon
2 x 10 interceptors: 2 psycannons, 1 hammer, psybolts

Me -- Death Guard:
Daemon prince, mark of Nurgle, wings, warptime
Dreadnought with plasma cannon
2 x 7 Plague marines; 1 champion with power fist, 1 flamer, 1 melta, rhino with havoc launcher
7 Plague Marines; 1 champion with power fist, 2 plasma guns, rhino with havoc launcher
2 vindicators with daemonic possession
1 predator with autocannon, heavy bolter sponsons, havoc launcher and dozer blade

Initial Thoughts:
I've never played against a Mordrak army list before.  This should be entertaining.  But how am I going to approach it?  Clearly my vindicators could be the key here.  If I can position them so that they can get a few nice shots off, I might be able to make some serious in-roads in to the opponent.  Coupled with the dreadnought and the plasma gun squad, I might be able to pull it off.  But its going to be tough!

Early Turns:
I decide to deploy and castle up, fully expecting a turn one deep-strike without scatter from my opponent who has reserved everything and forces me to go first.  Although this denies me any useful first turn firing, I can live with it.  My vindicators point outward ready to take some shots, with the predator ready to do some serious dakka damage on anything that come near.  I have my plague marines holed up inside their rhinos for the moment.  And just because I don't want my dreadnought anywhere near, it takes the opposite board corner ... somewhat stranded from the rest of my army, but ready to take a pot shot when needed. 

My opponent deep strikes in and starts to cause havoc immediately.  One vindicator gets completely wrecked by a warp-rifting librarian (how much do I envy that psychic power?!) whilst the other is immobilized.  The predator takes a few hits, but nothing untoward happens.  It dawns on me at this stage that I have more kill points and maybe ... just maybe ... little more firepower and lasting power.  In my turn, the immobile vindicator targets Mordrak and slays half the squad with a well placed pie blast -- S10 will instant kill almost any regular marine these days!  Horrah!  The dreadnought decides to have a fire frenzy, making me feel luck!) and splats a wound on Mordrak and scatters another one on to my daemon prince (ouch!).  

The rest of the Grey Knights come on in turn two and let rip even more.  One of the rhinos explodes, but luckily, none of the plague marines are affected. But, the rest of the shooting accounts for them with contemptible ease (sigh).  Meanwhile, the librarian throws down a second warp rift on my daemon prince.  And rolls a six.  Bye bye daemon prince.  Ouch!  The immobilized vindicator also explodes after being charged by terminators.  There goes my plan to win.

In exchange, I get my plague marines out of one of the rhinos and rapid fire the terminators.  Due to some unfortunate die rolling by my opponent, all but one of them perish!  But I'm still to cause a single kill point yet!

Middle Turns.
The other squad of terminators makes short work of the predator, whilst Mordrak wrecks another rhino.  This isn't going well for me at this stage.

But in a twist of fate, my dreadnought has yet another fire frenzy.  Mordrak is dead!  Inspired, I disembark my plasma gun plague marine squad in front of the librarian and take him down as well.  But this isn't to last.

The lone terminator charges the plasma squad and makes some rancid mince meat of the plague marines and saves the power fist wound in exchange.

I've now only got my dreadnought, 1 rhino and 1 squad of plague marines "free", whilst the remains of my other plague marines struggle to contend with terminator close combat.

Late Turns.
There is only one more highlight for me.  My dreadnought has a third (yes, you read it correctly: a third) fire frenzy.  This totally slays one of the interceptor squads. 

But, the lone terminator finishes off his rancid mince meat making job whilst the other interceptors wreck the remaining rhino.  My plague marines disembark (uninjured) and rapid fire the other terminators.

In the next turn, the terminators shoot and then assault the plague marines, finishing them off (plague marines are I=3 and hence always strike after regular marine forces - doh).  

I'm left with my dreadnought in the opposite corner.  He decides to be sane and shoots a plasma pie over at the other interceptors, but without effect (the pie plate scatters and only hits one interceptor, whom doesn't take a wound!).  

At this point, I call it game over.  My opponent would have tabled me in the next turn (I'm pretty certain) with only my dreadnought left.  I lost pitifully!

Concluding thoughts.
I think I had the right game plan by focusing on my vindicators -- and they did indeed pay off ... for one turn at least!  But my opponent saw this plan as well and reacted well.

The stars for me were the Dreadnought on my team and the Librarian on my opponent's.  That warp rift power is great, no doubt about it.  I'm left wondering what I could have done differently as I lost even with some very fortunate die rolling on my part and some dreadful die rolling on my opponents behalf.


Massawyrm said...

You played fine. Your list on that board had little chance against Grey Knights. GK are optimized in all the right ways for killing Plague Marines. Only the hardest, most optimized lists are going to stand up to GK of any kind, and you were playing a fun, fluffy, hobby list that didn't stand a chance - especially on a board that didn't allow you to shore up in ruins to protect you from Deep Strikers.

If you're going to play GK again, drop the 2 vindis and the Dread, yank all of the Havoc Launchers off the rhinos, and swap the flamers and melta for PGs. Consider Terminators of your own, Defilers and Obliterators. That should even things up a bit.

jabberjabber said...

Thanks for the encouragement Massawyrm! I agree that the list could be made much tougher for this particular opponent.

Menzies Tank said...

Most Ghostwing armies built around Mordrak are designed to go 2nd to negate your round of shooting.

Some solutions include NOT grouping men into clumps as to invite the deadly Warp Rift shooting, placing men in different levels of ruins to reduce such damage, placing units inside transports to ensure they'll have to crack open the armour first (Warp Rift scores a penetrative hit, but remember, it's AP '-' and thus is not so good in the damage roll chart) and the final option is to NOT deploy at all, which may or may not be a risky gamble as your force comes in piecemeal from reserve, however, it will in turn downplay the Mordrak bomb.

Making full use of cover is important Vs. Mordrak, as despite a 1st turn deep strike (no scatter) they are still privy to dangerous terrain tests if placed in difficult terrain, which is a strategy the Ghost Knights will do if they know you have any AP2 weaponry.

Lastly there is option of providing a bait unit to deliberately tempt Mordrak & Librarian to use their warp rift, while placing everything else in transports. The reason for this is when Mordrak deploys, they HAVE to clump together if they want to shoot (and likely not in difficult terrain/cover), as opposed to running to spread out. This way you can then fire a well-placed plasma cannon template on them as you did.

If you're lucky, you may even get to chase Mordrak and Terminators off the board if they fail their Leadership/Morale tests (1 in 6 chance) when tank shocking/attrition fire, which happened to me!

So far in my games I've faced a Chaos list (see batrep), and lately a Marine spam and Ork Horde spam list, which I am having difficulty with due to large numbers vs. my smaller numbers. Having a LOT more bodies on the field may also be another, viable solution in terms of tweaking your army list as opposed to figuring out new tactics with an older existing list.

Hope that helps!

jabberjabber said...

Thanks Menzies Tank, that's really helpful advice.

After seeing how well the ghostwing can work, I'm actually tempted to start one up myself :)

Menzies Tank said...

Will that be a Chaos-counts as Ghostwing, or a full-on new GK army itself? :)

I'm primarily a Guard player, but after a few months once the codex came out and a chance opportunity on ebay occured, I made the jump. Have been having great fun ever since, and the low model count (ghostwing & draigowing) makes painting duties pretty fun, a low cost expansion, and low model counts do make for faster games!

Ghostwing in itself is the way I've always imagined GK to work in the fluff and game-wise (teleportation strikes) unlike draigowing, purifier psyback-spam, or henchmen IG-wannabes, but hey to each their own.

If you fancy giving Ghostwing a try, try playing it counts-as style until you make the full jump and buy some GK models yourself! The Ghost Knights themselves are a great modelling opportunity, and I know of some players who use the GK codex to play a 'Dustwing' army (Thousand Sons), with Mordrak as a Sorceror and his Ghosts as 'Tutelaries'..

jabberjabber said...

I do enjoy playing with low model counts (Plague Marines, Death Wing once in a while, etc.), so Ghost Wing is appealing to me!

Whilst I like the idea of "dust wing", I'm also a fan of GKs (since Realms of Chaos era in fact -- that book had the first GK army list and I was taken with them even then!).

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