So, like I said, I suffered my first loss in about a year with my wraith army. My opponent is one of if not the best players in my area and usually wins the rogue trader missions in which he participates. I think he said he is undefeated with his army.
I am a point with my wraith army though where I am seriously destroying most armies I face. I have had a number of recent games where I destroy the entire enemy force down to the last model, don't lose any VPs and only lose a few models. Opponents who don't know how to handle the list have a terrible time against it. I want to play the better players and see how it does against them, but they tend to not hang around for the tuesday night pickup games, so I am trying to issue challenges.
Back to my opponent. He was using an ork army. It was more or less:
- Boss on a Bike
- Big Mech
- 20-30 shoota boys
- 20-30 slugga(?) boys
- 20-30 slugga(?) boys
- 20 boys with jump packs
- Battle wagon
- Looted(?) vehicle (S8, AP3 ordinance)
- Grots with 2 long-ranged melta weapon of some sort
- Trukk with heavy flamer
- Snikkrot and a bunch of friends
is in the list of lists above and had: 2 farseers with fortune, 2 wraithguard squads, 2 wraithlords, 2 warwalkers, 2 vypers, 4 shining spears, 3 jetbikes, 8 harliquins. If you follow the link to the list you'll notice my comments in the beginning that I deliberately avoided the "over-powered" stuff like Eldrad and Falcons. I was setting myself up for quite a challenge facing one of the best players in the area with what I didn't see as being my best list.
In both lists above I didn't add obivous things like powerclaws for the orks or fortune for the farseers, but there were in there.
Anyway on to the battle.
I was hoping that I could sort set things up so I would only have to deal with part of his force at a time, destroy it then hit the next thing. I made a mistake deploying I think, but I am not quite sure how I could have fixed it. The problem though was that my units were often in my way and I had difficulty setting things up as desired as I prepared to meet his charge. My two guard squads were more or less in the middle of the board. A wraithlord with the bikes were out of sight on my right flank and everything else was bunched up out of sight on the left flank. His shoota boys, the looted vehicle and the grots were more or less opposite the lord and bikes on the right flank. The battle wagon, trukk and a squad of boyz were in the middle. The jump troops, a squad of boyz and the Mech were on the left.
I won deployment and chose to go first in order to get fortune going so that the looted vehicle wouldn't have too easy a time killing off the guard who were in its line of sight. Even so I failed most of the fortune rerolls that turn and lost 3 or so guard. My main plan was to focus on a couple squads, soften them up and hope I could get them to run, then work on the next squads. I didn't have that much to shoot with though and didn't want to expose other things to enemy fire so I didn't get too many kills. The spears exarch used the jetbike slide to fire off the cannon and kill a few orks though. There were some other scattered kills, but obviously with orks a few kills don't matter.
The main issue with this turn was attempting to position my forces to receive a charge and effectively counter. I was worried about snickrot coming in and killing off my spears or harlies and removing my counter charge ability so I spent the first few rounds trying to set up a box which would protect my spears and harlies.
He basically advanced on his turns killing a few guard and immbilizing the walker. The first two turns were about positioning. Things got interesting in the third turn when snikrot came in. By that time, I had managed to kill enough boyz to pay for the shuriken cannon on the spear exarch. (Just had to throw that in there cause I like it.) More importantly the battle wagon was immobilized by a guard volley. I should also mention that I made a mistake with how I moved my bikes and it cost me the shuriken cannon.
My opponent is too good for me to make mistakes like that and not have it cost me. Had that not happened I may have had a chance later in the game to kill off the looted vehicle.
Setting up for the charge was the key though. I pushed a guard squad against the board edge and bracketed it with vypers. On the left the wraithlord and a walker completed the screen there. Snickrot had no way to hit more forces effectively on that side. On the right only the vyper impeded his movement, but he had to enter difficult terrain an move something like 14" total to get around the vyper to the guard. Just engaging the vyper would be useless because it would die or not and leave them exposed to a full wraithcannon volley and a followup charge by the guard if necessary as well as fire from the wraithlord and bikes on the right.
So my rear was fairly effectively covered. From the front I faced a likely charge from a large squad of boys with the bike boss attached. (I should mention that the mission gave double points for killing off a certain squad. This is the squad I would get the double points for. My harlies were the squad he would get double points for.) A wraithguard squad would take that charge. He could possibly engage the harlies with the charge as well, but would only contact a couple while most of the harlie squad would get its swings. They would probably kill enough so the boyz wouldn't get any return attacks. The other boys squad on that side was bogged down in cover and the flying boys didn't move far enough forward for a charge. The boys in the center were also slowed by cover and wouldn't be a factor on the third turn.
I had managed to make a box with my troops setting it up so the guard would be charged and the harlies and spears could counter.
In his turn 3 he brought in Snickrott on the right of the box hoping to get around the vyper. He made a mistake in the shooting phase targeting the rear wraithguard squad with the ordinance and killing one. I pulled the one closest to the vyper making the distance he needed to cover to engage the guard even greater. He used his waaagh this turn and was able to assault both guard squads, the one in the rear with Snickrott and the one in the front with the hunted squad and boss. The boyz were in the boss's way though so he didn't get to attack. The boss and nob managed to kill off 4 or 5 of the guard in the front squad and I lost one guard in the back squad. A few orks died.
At this point it is the start of turn 4. I have the flying boyz approaching from the left. They likely will be able to assault the next turn. The shoota boys are advancing on the right and the lord and bikes are slowly whittling them down. The center boys are advancing slowly through cover. I only really have to worry about getting out of combat and preparing for the flying boys.
If I do things right, I can use my hit and run moves to move quickly to the right with much of the force leaving the flying boys out of range of the bulk of my force. I also have a delay planned for them as well. Unfortunatley, I don't do things right and lose the game for myself on this turn.
Snickrott isn't too scarry and the guard squad there can handle them in one or two rounds. The boss and the orks attacking my front guard worry me. I also don't want to be stuck there too long because it will make it easier for the other orks to get involved. I set up a charge with the harlies on from the left and the spears from the right. The harlies are positioned to limit the kill zone a bit so I don't face any or at least very few return attacks.
Meanwhile my remaining walker (the other had been killed earlier) advances on the flying boys. The powerclaw is far enough away from the closest model so that I don't have to worry about return attacks if I charge. Yes, I am charging with the walker, and I'll pat myself on the back for that very good decision. This will buy at least one more round of time to not worry about the flying boyz.
There isn't much shooting to discuss. A few more boys die. On the right side the shoota boys are close enough to the lord for him to flame them. A poor difficult terrain check messes up that plan though and I only get two under the flamer. The claw is the closest model so if I charge and get 3 kills, then it will die and the rest of the squad will be helpless. That whole thing just didn't go well and I ended up getting charged and losing the lord in one round.
Back to the center, I charge the harlies and spears at the same squad. The harlies kill around 12. I only wasted 1 or 2 wounds. The spear exarch killed a couple which then prevented my other spears from getting their attacks. This allowed a claw to kill my last wraithguard in the squad. The boss tries to squish the farseer, but fortune protects. The squad is down to spiritseer with the farseer attached.
I won the combat handily and the boss and boys both break. The boss had separated prior to the charge. The boss gets away and the boys are killed. Here is the problem. My spears are now in the open, in charge range of the boys that had been advancing up the middle. My harlies don't have to worry about a charge thanks to the walker holding up the flying boys, but the spears are hung out to dry with only a 3" consolidation and no hit and run.
I should have sent the spears into the snikrott cc. I was worried that I wouldn't finish the boys and boss with the harlie charge, but that didn't really matter. If I just charged with the harlies two things could have happened. Either I could have won and made the boys and boss break or I could have won and hit and run away from the cc. Either way, the boss and boys are running or stuck with a small squad that is probably going to die anyway and is too small to be effective anymore. Also the spears wouldn't have been left exposed in the center of the board. If the boss and boys are stuck in the cc and kill off the rest of the squad they are left in the open to be gunned down. There really was nothing to gain by having the spears charge there.
In his turn he killed the spears with a charge. I finally win the combat with snickrot making his squad run and killing them with the sweep. The running boss was too close to the spears so he had to flee again. The flying boys kill the walker which explodes killing 11 boys (5 or 6 in the flying squad and 5 or 6 in an adjacent squad).
Mission accomplished there.
The harlies charge the squad that killed of the spears and make them run away. They are below half and can't regroup. My vyper speeds forward to usher the boss off the board. Other stuff happens.
The boss comes up less than an inch from the board edge and the vyper is shot down. In the last two rounds I get charged by the flyers and boys from the left. One farseer gets instasquished on the last roll of the game. The hariles get shot up and eventually are all killed. They are sort of surrounded by orks and have no place to go.
In the end I have one bike and a spiritseer from a wraithguard squad left for around 230 points. He has about 900 points left--battle wagon, grots, looted vehicle, flyers below half, mech, boss, shoot boys below half, regular boys at full strength. I probably could have kept the harlies alive if I had pulled the troupe master instead of the shadow seer. Since he got double points for that squad keeping the last model alive would have netted about a 300 point swing in vps putting me within about 400. Still a loss, but a bit closer.
If I had done the right thing with the spears, I think I would have been able to sweep my force to the right keeping the flying squad and boys on the left out of most of the battle. The harlies could have engaged the center boys, then my whole force could have moved toward the shoota boys and likely killed them off as well. The flyers may have caught up eventually by I had a lord to leave behind to slow them down. The other boys on the left never would have gotten involved. If I hadn't lost the shuriken cannon bike, I likely could have run up and killed the looted vehicle with it once the shoota boys had advanced enough. There was some cover to boost to and hide behind before hopping out to shoot the vehicle. I think I could have kept both guard squads alive, one below half, the harlies alive, the bikes alive, the spears alives, and the farseers alive, losing the lords, walkers and vypers. I probably could have killed all but the flyers, large boys squad, battle wagon, grots and looted vehicle and think I would have managed a win.
Oh yeah, one round of horrible shooting by the wraithlord deprived me of a chance to force a leadership check on the flyers at Ld7. Thanks to some earlier softening fire and the exploding walker they were down to 5-7 (don't quite remember). The lord fired scatter laser and plasma at them, but failed to record any kills. They ended up charging and killing him instead. Making them break may have made enough of a difference to pull out a draw.
Anyway, though I didn't win, it was a good game and I was glad for the challenge. I think I could have one had I played it better. Oh well, maybe next time.