A night drinking in Bugman's and playing the 40K themed quiz had helped us forget how the first day had ended (well almost). Despite Darren having an encyclopedic knowledge of 40K trivia we didn't win the quiz which was probably a good thing since we'd have missed the winning team giving each other high tens in the most geeky display of victory I've ever seen! Our loss had caused us to drop down the rankings a little so we found ourselves on table 16 (or something like that).
Battle Four - Blood Wolves vs. BA/SW
When we looked at Team Dude Where's My Tank's list there was something strangely familiar about it! The BA list was all but identical to ours and the Wolves list was similar apart from not containing any vehicles (except 3 bikes). Their Mephiston was the gorgeous conversion you can see at the top of this post and the rest of the army looked very different at it featured successors chapters, namely Azure Angels (Craig Clark) and Storm Crows (Rob Waller).
We were pleased to be fighting something that required a bit of tactics to compete with. Our list does well against small units in vehicles as the long fangs/rune priest open them up and the BA/grey hunters mop up the occupants. Against an all foot list though we could struggle. The game type was Annihilation with Dawn of War deployment. Our opponents deployed first placing Mephiston and a squad of BA up front in some trees plus some grey hunters in a building on their right. We deployed a rhino with grey hunters and rune priest right in the centre.
They walked their army on from the edge and their bikes turbo boosted. Mephiston was joined by another BA assault squad but didn't advance far as we were able to nullify his wings. We brought the rest of our army on including the land speeder which blasted up the right flank at full pelt. What followed was a few turns of us advancing and them falling back towards their entrenched grey hunters hoping to draw us into a firing range. The land speeder picked off a bike and we lost a rhino but otherwise there wasn't much action. Just when we were thinking it was going to turn into a boring encounter they charged forward. Mephiston engaged the grey hunters who'd lost their rhino. A BA squad moved in on the remaining rhino and the other engaged the smaller BA squad on our side. Their bikes moved in on the long fangs.
The assault squad blew up our rhino forcing the grey hunters out. In the ensuing assault phase their BA ran into a brick wall of grey hunters who'd popped their standard. There were losses on both sides but the grey hunters were slightly on top. Mephiston struck down the rune priest and two grey hunters and waited for the return attacks. Thanks to the standard the grey hunters landed a pile of hits. I rolled the dice to wound and picked out two hits for the power fist. I then glanced at the rest of the dice and spotted that the Wulfen had rended 3 times finishing the lord of death off! This was the turning point for the battle. Their BA were double charged. One had to face two grey hunter packs and the other two BA squads. Both were wiped out. Meanwhile the bikes had forced the long fangs to run. Despite being close to the edge I rolled a double 1 so they stayed on. However, if we couldn't remove the bikes they'd be chased from the battle.
The long fangs rolled another double 1 for their retreat and one of the BA assault squads swooped in and killed off the remaining bike saving their Space Wolf comrades. Elsewhere the land speeder had moved flat out towards their long fangs and one of the GH squads. It soaked up the combined fire of the whole SW portion of their army and returned the favour by flaming a nicely positioned grey hunters squad. Mephiston and the other assault marines were too late to save it however as it was finally destroyed. They did manage to finish off a grey hunter pack and some long fangs though.
Final result was a close kill points victory to us (something like 8-5 I think). I can't believe a grey hunters squad dispatched Mephiston so easily I could tell Matt was scared by it for future games against my Wolves! (incidentally when we played on Tuesday this week they did the same thing against his Mephiston!). It looked like they were going to clinch a narrow victory and we were disappointed that they'd managed to get the charge. Had we got any more turns then there would've surely been more losses on their side as Mephiston kept going.
Battle Five - Bloody Wolves vs. Eldar/Dark Eldar
We moved back to table 13 and once again found ourselves next to Darren and Chris on table 12! Our opponents were an unlikely combination of Eldar and Dark Eldar (so they can play together GW but Tau can't fight with hardly anyone?). They had a farseer, large jetbike squadron, bladestorm dire avengers, wraithlord and war walkers. The Dark Eldar army had an archon with a court of two medusae but as Darren correctly pointed out the members of the court are 1-3 so they'd need one of everything before a second medusa. This meant they needed to change their court to some kabalite trueborn. We felt pretty guilty doing this at first but not quite as much when we saw what DE can do. We've not played them yet but we were forced to learn quickly! In the end the DE army had an Archon (with webway), venom, kabalite trueborn, hekatrix bloodbrides, wyches, kabalite warriors and some hellions.
The battle would be Seize Ground (5 objectives, placed centrally) and Pitched Battle deployment. They won the roll off and placed their jetbikes on the right flank. The rest of the eldar were central and the only DE model was the venom who'd blast forward and deploy the webway for the rest. We placed everything pretty centrally with the long fangs on the right for fire support. For the first time ever we managed to "Seize the Initiative". Sadly we were unable to bring down the venom but we did kill a war walker and wound the wraithlord. They blasted the archon's venom forward. He jumped out, deployed the webway and then engaged Mephiston in combat but not until more BA had fallen. They exchanged blows for a few turns but eventually killed each other off. The grey hunters dealt with the jetbikes who failed a large number of 3+ saves under rapid fire and fled the field. The war walkers met a similar fate but the dire avengers moved back to a safe distance. The long fangs finished off the Wraithlord and all was looking well until we remember that barely any DE models were on the table!
The hekatrix squad came in and (in combination with Doom from the Farseer) they wiped out a BA squad pretty easily. The hellions were unable to get into combat with the long fangs straight away but not many fell to shooting so they easily finished them off. It wasn't long before only the two grey hunters packs remained as the dire avengers had bladestormed the land speeder then the farseer struck at S9 to destroy it in combat. The grey hunters had a lot to do. One pack rapid fired the hellions killing all but a couple. The other rapid fired the hekatrixes reducing them to a couple. One pack was then charged by hellions, hekatrixes and kabalite trueborn all of which they were able to kill off thanks to the standard but only after heavy losses.
The remaining wyches came in and engaged the grey hunters finishing them off pretty easily now they could no longer use their standard. The remaining grey hunters clung onto an objective but the dire avengers were strung out between two so it ended in a 2-1 win to our opponents. The VPs couldn't have been much closer however as we only won by 13pts.
Well we certainly learned a lot about fighting DE. Basically stay as far away as possible and shoot them! Not so easy when they deploy a webway portal right in the middle of the objectives! It has to be said though that had we managed to destroy that venom on the first turn then it would've been very different. One of the grey hunter packs spent quite a while dealing with jetbikes which meant their fire wasn't directed at the DE as much as we'd have liked. The eldar's main contribution was to draw us towards them so that the DE could get in and mess us up. Suffice to say we fell for it!
Battle Six - Bloody Wolves vs. CSM/Guard
Another loss meant that we fell down the ranks. We weren't totally upset though as it probably meant a more friendly battle than we'd have had if we'd won! In actual fact the DE/Eldar list went on to fight Darren and Chris so that's where we'd have ended up. We'd already beaten their list once in warm-up games so it would've been interesting to fight them again.
Anyway, our new opponents would be a combination of Imperial Guard (with vendettas again) and Chaos Space Marines. The CSM had a sorcerer, 3 obliterators (in two squads) and 13 thousand sons. The guard had a company command squad, platoon command squad (2 infantry squads and a special weapons squad), 2 vendettas and some storm troopers. The special weapons team and storm troopers were stowed inside the vendettas and would come on in reserve. We'd be playing Capture and Control with Spearhead deployment. We won the roll off and deployed everything as far forward as possible (including our long fangs). They placed their CSM army in the cover of a ruined building and the guard in the back corner holding their objective.
We advanced forward and attempted to get jaws off on the thousand sons and sorcerer but we sadly missed. The other rhino advanced popping smoke and the BA did what they do best, jumped forward. The long fangs fired frag missiles into the guard claiming a handful. Their shooting was relatively ineffective apart from destroying one of the rhinos. Mephiston charged into combat with the thousand sons. He tore down the sorcerer easily and then proceeded to wade slowly through the thousand sons who repeatedly failed to wound him. Eventually he was triumphant but only had a single wound left (we'd given him one with perils first!).
Meanwhile a combination of a successful jaws and blood angels charge saw off the obliterators. The guard killed off the land speeder after it had scattered making it ineffective. The other blood angels squad charged and killed a guard squad and then with the help of the long fangs they annihilated the remaining guard infantry but not before the vendettas had appeared on our far left. With nothing else to shoot at the long fangs, rune priest (with lightning) and the grey hunters pack (who'd just been de-meched) brought down both vendettas. This left only the storm troopers and special weapons team. They made short work of the grey hunters who were out in the open and had to suffer hot shot lasgun fire.
The blood angels, including Mephiston, lined up ready to assault what remained after the space wolves fired again but sadly we never got a turn 6 so we didn't get to table them completely. Nevertheless we held both objectives so it was a comfortable win and a nice way to end the weekend.
So we finished up with 4 wins and 2 losses giving us a total of 121pts out of a possible 180 leaving us 16th overall. We're both really pleased with our performance and we remain convinced that our list could win the tournament had we been a bit more lucky at a couple of crucial points (and known more about DE). For example had we beaten the Eldar then we'd have played Darren & Chris, if we'd beaten that list again we'd have been in the top 10. I've definitely learned a lot about playing 40K and playing against a few new enemies that I've never faced before. After Freebootaz we'd changed from worrying about objectives to just going for the tabling and it paid off for the most part and meant that all our units got into the thick of it.
Congratulations to Darren and Chris for coming 4th and earning the Bloodthirster award for racking up over 8000 VPs out of a possible 9000. We weren't initially going to enter the September doubles because of the costs but I don't see how we can resist! Hopefully see some of you there!