"It's not easy being green"
I invited my mate Sgt Waz over to give me a lesson on how 7th Ed. 40K works and see where he was up to with his Armies on Parade work. I haven’t been an active player of 40K since 6th Edition, and even then I can count on one hand how many actual games I played; most of my experience comes from earlier rule-sets. Needless to say, I have a lot of catching up to do and my only experience with flyers has been a disastrous outing against a Heldrake with my Nids.
The Sergeant brought a superb little Salamanders force led by Vulkan He’stan (I call him “Charlton”). It included two tactical squads with Rhino transports, a terminator squad, a Landraider Redeemer, Stormraven, two Storm Talons and a Venerable Dreadnought. The addition of the flyers makes this a very different force to the one I haunted with my Nids early in 6th (I took Charlton's head many times).
I put together a force of 3rd Company Dark Angels, knowing full well that they would be unequal to the task. My command squad was led by Balam, armed with the Lion’s Roar combi-plasma. I also armed Company Champion Valefor with the Monster Slayer of Caliban, which is naughty; Sgt Waz and have never let rules get in the way of a good laugh. I also took the Standard of Devastation because I wanted to see how useful it was with two squads of bog-standard tactical marines. I piled them all in transports: a Razorback with twin-linked lascannons for the Command, a Landraider and a Rhino for the troops. Backing them up I chose a Venerable Dreadnought and a Chaplain Dreadnought. With my remaining points I brought along a Landspeeder with a Multimelta and my Techmarine with Power Field Generator.
So, I was nominally mobile with no air defence or real ability to apply pressure to the backfield…
We played using the Tactical Objectives cards and 6 objective markers. Sgt Waz set up first and chose to take the first turn (I failed to seize the initiative). Straight away he was getting up in my grill with the Stormtalons in the hunt for First Blood. He also moved his Redeemer up blocking passage across the river and setting up a contest for my closest objective markers. During the shooting phase my front line got hammered with assault cannon and lascannon shots, which were ineffective thanks to the Power Field Generator.
In return I maneuvered to improve my LOS and reduced the hull points of the Stormtalons with two penetrating lascannon shots. Vehicles are tougher to kill these days!
In the second turn Sgt Waz picked up his objective cards and chuckled to himself. He scored a point just for controlling a marker near his deployment zone and his Stormraven came thundering onto the board. He deployed his terminators and took First Blood by destroying my Chaplain Dreadnought. The Terminators charged my Landraider but couldn’t take it down. I picked up two identical objective cards that award d3+3 victory points for controlling every objective marker (fat chance).
My reserve Landspeeder landed behind the Redeemer and lined up a Multimelta shot. I deployed my Tactical squad and Command squad in position to shoot the terminators and moved my Venerable Dreadnought in place to charge the Redeemer. Lascannons slammed the Storm Talons out of the air and Company Master Balam opened up with the Lion’s Roar combi-plasma, immolating two terminators and two of my own tactical marines. If only Dark Angels were as good with plasma as Salamanders are with… everything else that is hot. The remaining fire took out another terminator and another tactical marine who overheated his plasma gun. The Landspeeder behind the Redeemer missed its million dollar shot. In the assault phase I knocked a hull point off the Redeemer.
When you're backing up in your own deployment zone during an objectives game, you are losing.
Sgt Waz earned another two point for holding objectives in his own backfield, and picked up some more easily achievable objectives. The Stormraven deployed his Venerable Dreadnought, Tactical squad and Charlton in my backfield, then moved to charge my Razorback with his terminators. The Redeemer and surviving terminators poured fire (literally) into my marines, torching five tactical marines but only one Command squad veteran. The Venerable Dreadnought missed its shot at my Landraider, but the Stormraven holed my Rhino. In close combat Charlton killed the Veteran Sergeant he challenged and the Terminators on the other side of my deployment zone destroyed my Razorback. In return I knocked two hull points off the Venerable Dreadnought and set up a charge with my own Dreadnought. My Command squad executed the final Terminator and my Landspeeder moved on hastily to contest an objective Sgt Waz had been holding with an empty Rhino. In close combat my Venerable Dreadnought utterly failed, needing to only remove one hull point to destroy his counterpart.
"Wait... are they on our side...?"
Epic fail to penetrate.
By this stage it was clear the game was over and the Salamanders had beaten me soundly. Sgt Waz had a pile of completed objectives whilst I was stuck with impossible ones, mainly due to the limitations of my list, deployment and the immense pressure he able to bring to bear so rapidly. And, seriously, Salamandars get to re-roll everything! We played out one more turn with the loss of my tactical squad (facing Charlton), my Landraider to multiple twin-linked multimelta shots and half of my Command Squad. My Landspeeder missed another shot at the Rhino and Balam failed to do any damage with his powerfist on the Redeemer.
So… lesson learned and fun had. The game has certainly changed since I was last competitive, and I have some work to do before I see success again. Time to get some flyers and get some Deathwing/Ravenwing synergy going on.
See you across the table,M4cr0