Friday, July 15, 2011

WARGamesCon post-action post

     It's been a week now since my wife and I took to the field for our doubles games at WARGamesCon and I've had plenty of time to analyze our games. I've had time to consider what happened in each and why we saw the outcomes we did.  I could say, "Waah! Our codex is older and can't compete with the current books," but the internet is full of whining and I'd rather be more constructive. Besides, I know competitive lists can be built from the current Chaos Space Marine codex. If they couldn't, I'd never win ANY games instead of the 35-40%-ish win ratio I have. It seems like for every win I get, there's a draw, or a hard-fought, very close loss. So what were our failings? What caused the 3 losses we suffered? Stay tuned to find out...

The setup - Our lists were formed thusly:
Casey's children of the Khorne
HQ - Daemon Prince, Mark of Khorne, wings
Troops - 8 berzerkers in a rhino with Power weapon Aspiring Champ
Troops - 8 berzerkers in a rhino with Power weapon Aspiring Champ
Defiler with two extra close combat arms
Daemonically Possessed Predator with TL LasCannon and sponson LasCannons

Stinky and his gang:
HQ - Daemon Prince, Mark of Nurgle, Wings, Gift of Chaos
Troops - 7 Plague Marines with 2 plasmaguns in a rhino with a havoc launcher
Troops - 7 Plague Marines with 2 plasmaguns in a rhino with a havoc launcher
Daemonically Possessed Predator with TL LasCannon and sponson LasCannons

     By our powers combined, we had a pretty solid list I thought. Even with building thematically. The Daemon Prince bullet magnets would hopefully keep a good bit of fire off our scoring units and still be fast enough to knock out a big target or get locked in combat before they fell to overwhelming fire. We have berzerkers to take objectives and Plague Marines to hold them. We had the heavy support handy to crack open the mech units exposing the chewy goodness inside. It seemed like we built for all contingencies, so why the problems in winning a match?

Game I vs IG and Dark Eldar
Okay, so not the most obvious of allies. In fact, I don't think I ever saw a story on how those two got together, but I'm sure it was a great read. What I did see was tons of gun barrels aimed our way. This was my second game against Dark Eldar with their new codex out and, I think, Casey's as well. We both faced them at Alamo earlier in the year, but there isn't anyone playing them locally, so we knew what the army was capable of in theory, just not in practice. And what does IG do but shoot.
Let's see if I can't remember enough of the army facing us to give a list rundown:

Succubus with wych squad in Raider
Haemonculus (not sure where he was)
Wracks in a venom
5 Warriors in a venom
5 Warriors in a venom
5 Warriors in a venom

Command unit
Several Veteran squads with Plasma and Melta
A chimera to transport 1 squad

     This mission was a 5 objective seize ground mission. We lost 3-1. Our opponents set up first, and we ended up setting up as if we were going to seize the initiative. Which we didn't. That was our first mistake. During deployment, we didn't take advantage of the cover very well. We didn't set our vehicles up with cover saves and we really didn't put much thought into where we placed everything short of "these will go that way, those got this way."
     We lost both predators and the plague marine rhinos on turn one. That left one of my plague marine squads in cover on top of an objective and the other hoofing it to reach an objective behind an aegis defense line. 2+ cover from going to ground behind one of these puppies is a great way of living through dark lance and las cannon fire. However, in my exuberance to make use of the 2+ cover I didn't take into account the negative effect of losing that squad's plasma and bolter fire for 3 rounds. Rapid firing into their venoms/raider/ravagers/vendettas/valkyrie for 3 rounds could have helped reduce the number of shots being poured into us and kept our units alive longer to accomplish our goals.
     That right there, the loss of firepower from going to ground in cover, lost us a good bit of our offensive capability. I can attribute the cause of that defensive mindset to our first turn losses as caused by poor deployment. Losing that much at the start of the game rocked us back a bit and set me at least thinking about how I could turtle up and keep from losing more units which ultimately led to my opponents being able to keep their vehicles intact the whole game and pouring out withering hails of fire.
Lessons learned from Game I: Have a plan; communicate with your teammate better; consider your deployment carefully; remain aggressive.

Game II vs CSM and Eldar
Once again, I missed out on the story for this pairing. This would have been a great read too I bet. Especially with those two together. The elder race and the great foe. The eldar guy was playing Iyanden even. The only way that could have been a more interesting pairing is if the chaos player was fielding Slaaneshi units. He wasn't, however. They were bland chaos with a hint of Khorne and Kharn.
Lists went a bit like this:

Some berzerkers - 8 maybe?
Land raider
Chaos Marines in a rhino with a missile launcher
Chaos Marines in a rhino with plasma
The berzerker's empty rhino

Guardians with a weapon platform
Striking Scorpions in a falcon
War Walker

     This game was a kill point mission. The twist was, your team's kill point total was equal to the lower of the two totals amongst the teammates. For example: we ended the game with myself having 4 kill points and Casey having (I think) 1, so our team total was 1. Our opponents ended up with 3 and 2 if I remember correctly, so her receiving even 1 more kill point would have at least won us a draw.
     I knew immediately after this game concluded what caused our loss. Two things: greed and complacency. Or more accurately, my desire to finish off units to keep them from being able to damage us as opposed to letting her get the kill and her faith in her repair rolls for her rhinos. I spent a good deal of the game softening up things, only to go ahead and finish them off when I didn't think her Khorney guys would make it in for the kill. I opted for killing the unit outright rather than letting her get the kill which was best for the scenario. Seems to be my line of thinking on any list of objectives these days. I get as far as the word destroy and disregard all else.
     Working against us as well was the fact that this was a very terrain-heavy table. Casey ended up immobilizing her rhinos first turn and stayed in the bunkers for too long, on my urging, hoping a repair roll would get her moving again and back into the fight. Had she gone with her own instincts, she'd most likely have disembarked sooner and had the berzerkers run the whole way. Especially with the lack of firepower on our opponents-side that could ignore a 3up save. I should have urged her to go with her own plans to get out and advance on them rather than stay in the vehicles.
Lessons learned from Game II: Plan ahead. Set objectives for the scenario and work towards them; Trust your teammate; communicate better with said teammate; when all else fails, get out and leg it!

Game III vs Orks and Eldar
I don't think I saw a story for their army either, although by this time of the day, they could have had it written in mid-air in gold sharpie floating in front of my face and I probably would have missed it. We helped a friend of ours move into his third floor apartment the day before and I was acutely aware of how out of shape I was by the end of Friday.
What did we face:

Killa cans x3
Zap guns x3 or 4
Shoota boyz
30 'Ard Boyz with Mad Doc Grotsnik

War walkers x3
War walkers x3
Dire avengers
Falcon grav tank carrying Fire Dragons (I think)
Wave serpent wherein the Farseer rode with some unit.
I think that was all the space elves. I could be wrong.

     This mission's objective was capture and control. Our opponents placed their objective in a ruined building on the back corner of their deployment zone and we placed ours in a terrain feature that was set up to funnel them down the middle of the board to come take it. I placed deep strikers in reserve so I'd have something to drop on their objective late-game.
      For this one, I really think my head just wasn't in the game. I was cranky and tired from moving our friend the day before. I was looking forward to dinner out with gaming buddies later. I was pounding down cups of water to re-hydrate myself from sweating my butt off  all day long and somewhere in all of that I let my opponent tick me off. I don't know if he was playing a psychological angle, trying to make me angry by being as annoying as humanly possible, or if he's just naturally that irritating. Either way, I shouldn't have let him ruffle my feathers. I wouldn't have, had I felt better, but allowing him to get me all riled up reduced my ability to focus on the scenario and once more it became let's kill as many of this guy's units as we can. I honestly don't think he was doing it on purpose. At one point, about halfway through the game, he'd pointed out the 60,000th little thing he thought I needed to know just before I rolled my dice and I responded somewhat curtly with a "Yes, I know, I'm not an idiot." After that he relaxed a bit and the game honestly started to become more enjoyable. That allowed me to relax and kept me from marking it as a bad game. Up until that point though, it felt as if he was on a mission to poke, prod and needle the snot outta me in order to provoke a response. If he's like that normally, I'd prefer not to play him again.
Lessons learned from Game III: Obliterators, while a great Death From Above option for deep-striking behind tanks and blowing them up, are not very sturdy when they come under massed fire sitting on an objective; cooler heads prevail. It's not worth losing your temper at an opponent. You can't see clearly when angry.

So, my take-away items from the doubles tourney revolve mainly around keeping my head in the game and practicing more with my teammate. The more games we get in together against someone, and the more we discuss what is happening before, during and after the game, the better we should do. It's a rehash of what I learned while playing my dwarves in Fantasy. Pay attention to the scenario, read the whole sheet and don't just focus on how many models I can kill.

As far as the long post goes, the tl;dr version should sound something like: "I am aware of my shortcoming and will work to correct it." I'll ask that you excuse my Space Wolf allusion, as I just finished Battle of the Fang yesterday. It's a great read and I heartily recommend it.


Honda said...

Hey, I just wanted to say that I was the IG/Elysian player in your first game and it was my first time in doubles and I wanted to thank you for making it such a pleasant game, even though everything seemed to be going against you guys.

Failing 7/7 3+ saves on that one Berzerker squad was pretty heartbraking, but what impressed me the most was your great attitude.

And if it helps any, we got our character developing opportunity in our next game when we got stuffed 0-17.

Fortunis, she is a fickly mistress.

Cheers and I hope we get to meet again sometime.


Mondel "GAR" Garcia said...

Howdy. My name is Gar and I was Honda's partner in game one. I had the Dark eldar.

Seriously, you guys were great opponents and we had a good time playing against you. Our next game was not so good with us making a bad choice and it seriously costing us.

Still, I concur with your points and look forward to hearing more tales of victory and glory for the foul powers!

BlackBeardFreelance said...

Thoroughly enjoyed Gaming against you Gents. Had been kinda concerned about what our first round would entail after being dead tired the day before from assisting with a move, but it turned out to be a lot of fun, and a definite learning experience against IG and DE. Neither one is played much up here. We see a lot of orks, chaos and marine chapters.