In the Goodbye to 7th Edition Tournament, the first battle was a brutal 30k face off between the Salamanders Legion and the Alpha Legion. Whichever way it would go, the Emperor was sure to win. Or at least that's what we both thought when the game began (!)
Alpha Legion List:
HQs: Autilon Skorr (Pride of the Legion Rite of War), Master of Signals
Elites: Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought (Kheres)
Troops: Assault Squad (plasma pitols, serg with thunder hammer); Terminator Squad (Axes, plasma blaster, thunder hammer); Veteran Squad (two melta guns)
Fast Attack: Storm Eagle (las cannons)
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (missile launchers)
HQs: Praetor (thunder hammer, halo, combi-melta; Covenant of Fire Rite of War); Master of Signals
Elites: Contemptor Dreadnought (multi melta); Contemptor Mortis (Kheres); Dreadnought Talon (2x Multi Melta and one with 2 CCWs)
Troops: 2x Tactical squads (serg with power sword)
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (volkite culverins)
I will freely admit that out of all of the lists taking part in the tournament, this was the one that I feared the most. No less than 5 dreadnoughts combined with the Covenant of Fire rite of war in the Salamanders legion is very strong. Those heavy flamers in the hands of the dreadnoughts are to be feared, and those melta weapons were always going to be deadly.
However, the battle was to be fought over a pair of objectives -- one in each of our deployment zones. I figured that my approach here was to almost entirely ignore the dreadnoughts and instead take out the troops. That way, without any objective secured units, I could potentially still win. If I could figure out a way to stay alive.
Of course, one thing that the Alpha Legion has going for it is the mutable tactics. Hence, I decided to select Tank Hunters. Combined with the Master of Ambush warlord trait, I can still infiltrate three units -- and this is exactly what I ended up doing.
The Salamanders deployment was pretty much a straight line as pictured below.
This provided the first opportunity for me really. I would infiltrate my assault squad and try to eliminate one of the troops squads (top right) whilst using the master of signals to take out the heavy support (bottom centre on the crates). I would then shoot the remaining squad (not shown, but located further down and left).
This plan actually worked very well. By the middle turns, I was engaged deeply in close combat. However, despite my initial alpha strike (pun semi-intended), the dreadnoughts in close combat really slew my troops very quickly. However, with the good fortune to have the first turn, coupled with my Storm Eagle coming on very early in the game from reserves, the tide slightly pivoted in my direction.
As my units got stuck in, losses on both sides mounted up quickly. With dreadnoughts in close combat, all of my assault squad got wiped out, and most of my veterans too. The Storm Eagle brought in the terminators to the fight and eventually, I managed to seize control of the objective on the opposite board edge. The enemy master of signals started to wipe out my missile launchers, but not before they accounted for a couple of dreadnoughts. Meanwhile my mortis managed to wreck a few of the enemy. With only a few marines left and my contemptor, I had secured one objective and was pinging away at the remaining enemy dreadnought.
As turn 5 rolled around, the game was almost mine -- just one dreadnought remained to be killed. But rather than yield the massacre to me, this dreadnought went on the run behind cover to ping my storm eagle from the sky.
The game ended here. I had one objective, lots of dead things (basically only my mortis and a few marines left) and the Salamanders had one hiding dreadnought. The game was won. But only narrowly and at a very steep cost.