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Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Fling Tournament: Game 1

Last weekend, we held a small "tournament" at my FLGS, with the goal of playing some lighter games of 40K with fun lists. All the games were Maelstrom missions of some sort with 1500 point armies. I took a Sternhammer Strike Force with the following:

Battle Demi-Company

Captain w/ bike, power fist, Shield Eternal, artificer armor = 205
Command squad w/ bikes, Apothecary, 4 storm shields, 2 power fists = 230
10 Tactical Marines w/ flamer, heavy bolter, Rhino w/ dozer blades = 195
10 Tactical Marines w/ flamer, heavy bolter, Rhino w/ dozer blades = 195
10 Tactical Marines w/ flamer, heavy bolter, Rhino w/ dozer blades = 195
Land Speeder w/ multi-melta, heavy flamer = 60
5 Devastator Marines w/ 4 lascannons = 150

Devastators
5 Devastator Marines w/ 4 missile launchers w/ flakk = 170

Ordnance
Thunderfire Cannon = 100

This is pretty much the list I posted before, but I dropped some meltaguns down to flamers and switched the Land Speeder to a cheaper armament so that I could take flakk missiles on one squad of Devastators.

My first game was Cleanse and Control, where each player just has 3 Tactical Objectives all of the time. My opponent was playing his new Genestealer Cult army for the first time.

Cult Insurrection Detachment:

Core:

Brood Cycle

Cult Iconward  with the icon of the cult ascendant - 95 pts
9 x acolyte hybrids w/ cult icon, 1 w/ demo charge - 102 pts
9x acolyte hybrids w/ cult icon, 1 w/ demo charge - 102 pts
5 x acolyte hybrids - 40 pts
10 x neophyte hybrids 2 w/ mining lasers - 80 pts
10 x neophyte hybrids w/ missile launcher - 65 pts.
10 x hybrid metamorphs, 2 w/ metamorph claws - 94 pts
5 x purestrain genestealers - 70 pts

Command:

The First Curse

20x genestealers w/ scything talons - 340 pts
Patriarch- Mastery Level 2 w/ the crouchling - 135 pts

Lords of the Cult

Primus - 75 pts

Auxiliary: 

Doting Throng
Magus - Mastery Level 2 - 65 pts
10 x neophyte hybrids 2 w/ siesmic canons 1 w/ grenade launcher 95 pts
10 x neophyte hybrids w/ autocanon - 60 pts
9x acolyte hybrids w/ cult icon - 82 pts


Here's our table:



Lots of cover meant that the Genestealer cult would be pretty durable against most of my shooting. I got to deploy first so I decided to turtle up to receive first turn charges. I could have gone two ways with this: either keep my squads in Rhinos to force the Genestealers to rip them open or deploy out of transports to maximize the amount of damage I got with overwatch. I decided to deploy outside of my transports.


Then the Cult showed up and covered the board. The Acolytes on my left flank got to fire during deployment, which was amusing but didn't do any damage, while the acolytes and hybrids just in front of my line to the left would be able to assault first turn. Most importantly, the First Curse unit of 20 Genestealers and Patriarch deployed just to my right and would be able to assault first turn. Even worse, due to being in an area we had defined as ruins, having Shrouded due to some rule, and having Stealth due to night fight, they would have a 2+ cover save. They also wouldn't be slowed by charging through difficult terrain. This was going to hurt, but at least he didn't seize the initiative.

The Executioners discover that the Mining Guild uprising is more serious than anticipated.
Turn 1

I decided my best bet was an aggressive response so I did my best to deal with the squads surrounding me. My Command Squad assaulted the acolytes to my left, butchering them in short order.  My Tactical squad on the left advanced and combined its fire with the Devastators to kill 9 of the 10 Acolytes preparing to assault them, with the survivor falling back and retreating into the shadows.


However, the real contest was on my right flank, where 20 Genestealers and a Patriarch with excellent cover saves were about to assault me. The Thunderfire and both Tactical squads on that flank opened fire on the Genestealers, having most of my Ignores Cover weapons. Unfortunately, my opponent had expertly spaced out the stealers and I was only able to kill 6.

Still way too many Genestealers for comfort.



The Genestealer Cult turn was predictably aggressive. The backfield squads sitting on objectives stayed on them, taking ineffective shots with autocannons. The hybrids on the left assaulted my Tactical squad but lost an astounding 6 models to overwatch (re-rolling all misses with bolters is really handy!). They killed 4 Tactical Marines but the remaining Marines wiped out the squad. That went better than expected, but the Genestealer assault made up for it. They multi-assaulted both of my Tactical squads, losing 2 models to overwatch but wiping out one squad and killing most of the second. The Stubborn Marines held.

Turn 2

At this point, I realized my firebase was pretty much lost, so I decided to advance on the more vulnerable cultists. My Tacticals and Command Squad advanced up the left flank, combining their fire with the Devastators and Thunderfire into the Acolyte squad that had advanced a bit too aggressively. It contained both the Primus and Magus, who both died to lascannons once their meatshields were gunned down. Even if the game wasn't going great, I'm always excited to execute enemy HQs.


 Amazingly, my Tactical Marines held out against the Genestealers swarming them. Their heroic efforts meant the Genestealers wouldn't be able to assault in their turn, exposing them to another round of fire.

Hang in there, guys!

The Genestealer Cult turn started out with some reserves showing up. The Acolyte that had vanished earlier returned, bringing back a buddy with a seismic cannon and 5 Genestealers, who all appeared on my left flank where the Command squad had wiped out the previous squad of Acolytes. This gave him a clean shot at my Apothecary, who took a wound and failed his Look Out, Sir! but then made a desperate Feel No Pain roll to stay in the game. Inevitably, the Genestealers finished eating the Tactical Marines.

Turn 3

I briefly considered turning around to confront the Genestealers, but I realized that I didn't have the firepower to do so and they would happily eat my Command Squad with their large volume of attacks. A Rhino did turn back and park just in front of the Stealers, earning me a point for holding the objective they were sitting on. My Thunderfire, Tacticals, and Devastators opened fire on the Hybrids protecting the Iconward but didn't manage to do serious damage. The Command squad assaulted the Acolytes occupying the tower in the center of the table, routing them and running them down.

The Genestealer turn opened with a squad of Acolytes showing up and getting to fire twice, wiping out my remaining Tactical Marines. The two squads of Genestealers assaulted my Rhino and Thunderfire, easily destroying both.

The extraction Thunderhawk doesn't arrive soon enough for the Techmarine.


At this point, time was called and we broke for lunch. Though the score has only 5-3 in the Cult's favor, it was clear that the Genestealers had won decisively. They would kill my Devastators next turn while my Command squad ran around the table and killed as many weaker squads as they could before the First Curse caught up with them.

Result: Genestealer Cult Victory

Lessons Learned:

1) Wow, the First Curse is a serious death star, able to absorb and dish out a substantial amount of damage. If they get to assault first turn, you're in trouble. Even if they don't, you'll be in trouble as soon as they reach assault so do everything you can to prevent it.


2) The rest of the Genestealer Cult army can do some damage but is pretty fragile. If they couldn't appear wherever they wanted, they'd never win any games.  They have to live and breathe ambush.

3) I should have stayed in my Rhinos at the beginning of the game. The First Curse was going to eat my firebase and I couldn't stop that. What I could do is run away, kill the other units, and set up a coordinated response. Sure, they could have torn open one of my Rhinos first turn, but then they have to take another turn to deal with the Tactical squad inside, who could try to lure them out of cover.

4) I am rusty with my Executioners! I remembered them as being to much stronger than my Blood Angels that I figured I could drop back into playing them with no problem, but I kept making substantial mistakes. Mainly, I was having trouble being decisive with my Command Squad. This was a problem for the rest of the day.

5) Superior Bolter Drill is really incredible when snap shooting, such as during overwatch. I have never done so much damage to chargers before.

Bonus Lessons Learned by the Genestealer Cult Player

1) Other than the seismic cannons (which were pretty impressive), giving the Acolytes heavy weapons probably isn't worth the points. My autocannons only hit a few time throughout the day and failed to do any damage.

2) I have to get used to having normal morale. I could have Gone to Ground several times over the day to save my relatively squishy models, but forgot I could because I'm used to playing Tyranids.

3) The Acolytes hit hard but not as hard as I expected, and the lack of Move Through Cover and Fleet really limits their mobility compared to Purestrain Genestealers. However, I'm ecstatic to have assault grenades!

4) I'm glad the First Curse requires 20 Genestealers. Otherwise, I would have taken a smaller unit and it wouldn't have been nearly as good.

5) I think I'd be better taking the Subterranean Assault formation with the primus rather than the Doting Throng, and taking the Magus as a command slot.

6) Finally, I %*#$*&% hate flamers! (And twin-linked bolters, I bet! ~CI)

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