Siege of Sussex - Game 1 vs Imperial Guard

Game 1 vs IG
My first game was to be against a 40k veteran called Craig, who was packing a well painted Guard army. A quick look at his two trays of models gave me the distinct impression that this guy had played more than a few games of 40k...


Command Squad (incl. Vox, Medic, Plasma x 2) in Chimera (Dozer Blade)

Vets (Vox, Plasma Gun x3, Plasma Pistol, Power Weapon) in Chimera (Dozer Blade)

Infantry Platoon, with:
Command Squad (Vox, Flamer, Power Fist)
Squad 1 (Vox, Flamer)
Squad 2 (Vox, Flamer, Heavy Bolter)
Squad 3 (Vox, Flamer) in Chimera (Dozer Blade)
Heavy Weapon Squad (Lascannons x 3)
Heavy Weapon Squad (Mortar x 3)
Special Weapons Squad (Melta x 3)

Fast Attack
Hellhound (Flamer, Dozer Blade)

Heavy SupportManticore (Flamer)
Leman Russ Executioner (Heavy Bolter, Plasma Sponsons, Dozer Blade)

So, a good amount of mid to high AV hulls (though certainly not the most possible), plasma, a smattering of melta and lascannons, plasma, plenty of bodies, lots of templates (including a Manticore!) and just in case you missed it, MORE PLASMA! Particularly the Executioner, who I later found out could pump out no less that 5 templates a turn... Thankfully, no Hydras, Vendettas with Demo Vets, or massed Chimeras containing Melta Vets.

On the plus side, at least know what the majority of the army did, and knew that my overall strategy would be to push as far into his lines as possible as early as possible. Then the tournament organiser rolled for the mission and it was - Dawn of War, Annihilation. And Craig won the first turn. Hmm. We both had 15 kill points, but going first meant that I would probably be pushed to the back edge of my deployment zone and get hammered by the long range firepower the IG are so well known for.

Looking at the table, it was reasonably well covered (perhaps 20-25%), but there was little LOS blocking terrain in the mid-table. I did get some cover for my Fangs, but I expected it to be a long slog across to the other side of the table...


IG Deployment

Making the most of the platoon only counting as one Troop choice, the IG swarmed over the battlefield and took cover where possible. The lascannons took position on the hill to the right with decent lines of sight over the majority of the board. The mortar team, who didn't need lines of sight, hid behind the ruins near the center. The three infantry squads pushed as close as they could to the center line to force me backwards whilst hugging cover and the command squad and special weapon teams deployed near the back next to the lascannon team to dish out orders and counter any threats.

A generally sensible deployment, I'd say, pushing me back as far as possible and making the most of cover. It was a bit risky leaving the command and special weapon squads in the open, and I might have parked the chimera in front to try to block line of sight. That being said, night fighting and probably the first turn (barring me seizing the initiative) meant that this wasn't that much of a gamble.

SW Deployment

As I need to get across the board asap, I deployed two rhinos with grey hunters and attached wolf guard and the WGBL as far forward as I could. I chose the area just left of center, as the other location to the far right was too far away from the action, and I didn't want the IG to just fall back to the left and shoot me to bits before I could get close. Also, with the long charge range of the WGBL, I might even be able to pull off a second turn charge, assuming he lived that long!

My overall plan was to drop the pod with the Jaws priest, CML would gaurd and grey hunters in next to a priority target and rush the rhinos up for support. Dreads would come in on the flanks to try to get some side shots and the long fangs would be dropped off in the central hill in my deployment to offer fire support.

In retrospect, this wasn't a bad deployment/plan, but I think I should have placed the WGBL further forward and a rhino further back. This would have extended the charge range by another three inches or so, and since he was equipped with a storm shield, it's not like he needed cover!

I rolled to try and steal the first turn and... failed!

IG Turn 1:

Remaining IG roll on

On rolled the remaining force, generally moving at combat speed with the intention of lighting up my small force with searchlights and then blowing them sky high! The manticore took position in the far left corner, with the Leman Russ just to the side. The two remaining chimeras and hellhound came in centrally, and the forward troops pulled back except the heavy bolter squad who sat still waiting for targets.

IG end of turn positions

Everything equipped with a searchlight tried to see the distant rhino hulls. A couple succeeded, but thankfully the reduced firing only resulted in one rhino being stunned by the end of the turn. Phew!

Minimal SW damage

A good first turn for the Wolves so far. With no casualties and plenty of space to drop the pod in, things were going much better than I had anticipated!

KP score 0:0

SW Turn 1:

Time to bring my guys to the party. Firstly, the drop pod crashed in on target next to the Executioner, with the missiles, melta and living lightning carefully placed to be able to target either this or the side armour of the manticore. I had considered Jaws'ing the mortar team, command squad or special weapons teams, but decided that the big guns were a much higher priority.

The pod lands and wrecks the Manticore

As planned, the dreads moved in on either flank, the Fangs' razorback passed its dangerous terrain roll into the central ruins/hill and the Long Fangs shouldered their missle launchers and ale kegs and took firing positions. Unfortunately, the two large pillars obscured some of the battlefield, but not enough to really cause any major concerns.

Central Chimera Stunned

The rhino that had escaped unscathed from the first round of shooting accelerated forward with the thunderwolf loping behind. The remaining rhino rolled up next to it's stunned brethren, with the second rune priest popping out of the top hatch, and the final empty razorback piled forward to provide cover for the righthand dread.

With plenty of targets in sight, the Wolves took aim...

First off, I decided that the Manticore was the priority target. If I had dual melta in the squad and no priest, then I would have chosen the Executioner, but given where the pod landed and the available weapons, I think that the manticore was the better choice. Six high strength shots later, and the Manticore exploded in a massive fire ball, singing a few beards but otherwise doing no permanent damage. One kill point to the Wolves!

The WGBL ran towards the nearby heavy bolter infantry squad. There would be a lot more shooting coming my way next turn, and the safest place for him was in combat (assuming the thunderwolf didn't eat all the Guard, which was a strong possibility!).

The rest of the turns shooting was directed at the only visible targets - the chimeras. Between them, the dreads and rune priest in the backfield managed to repeatedly stun the middle chimera, and wreck another in the back left field (see pod photo above). Another KP to the Wolves!

Finally, the WGBL dug his heels into his thunderwolf mount, attempting to charge the infant squad. One very careful measurement later saw the charge fall short by half an inch, so no breakfast yet!

End of SW Turn 1

Two kill points up with no loses, and I was very happy! If I had deployed the WGBL further forward, it may well have been three, but hindsight is a beautiful thing! All in all a strong start.

KP score 2:0

IG Turn 2:

IG Turn 2 - Firing squad for the pod

Now it was the turn of the Guard to take revenge for their early losses! The entire left flank moved to form a gunline around the pod, including a redeployed plasma squad. The front line troops fell back away from the approaching rhinos and the command squad dished out orders to the stationary heavy weapons teams.

The Executioner, plasma squad, heavy bolter squad, hellhound and an infantry platoon opened up on the pod team, leaving nothing but a large pile of smoking power and terminator armour behind. This pulled Craig back to level KP, but had taken most of the shooting for the turn to do so.

The mortar team landed three accurate blasts into the Long Fangs, but only resulted in spilled ale, much to the Fangs' horror! The only other shooting, from the lascannon team, failed to damage the smoked razorback on the right.

KP score 2:2

SW Turn 2:

SW Turn 2
Although I'd lost 1/6th of my army, the rest were still good to go! The WLBL was definately going to be in range this turn, and would likely net me a significant win in combat against any infantry. Hopefully the victims wouldn't break and leave my guy standing alone, ready to be shot to pieces, but this was a risk inherent with any combat. I decided to target the infantry in the middle, as this would open up more of the battlefield next turn (if he survived!).

My dreads continued to develop their flanking positions, seeking side shots on the chimeras. The two razorbacks also rolled forward, training their lascannons on the enemy tanks, with one ploughing though difficult terrain without difficulties and the other also providing cover to the right hand dread from the lascannon team on the hill.

The previously stunned rhino belted forward, ready to unleash the grey hunters next turn, and the forward rhino closed in on the nearby chimera. The remaining Rune Priest's rhino also advanced, with the intention of blasting some long range targets with lightning.
In the shooting phase, the thunderwolf padded closer to the cowering infantry squad in cover (juicier targets like the special weapons or command squads were out of range and would have to wait until next turn).

The top hatch of the central rhino popped open, and the melta gunner and wolf guard attempted to slag the adjacent chimera. Although in melta range, this resulted in a disappointing shaken result. To add insult to injury, the combined firepower of the rest of my army could only stun a further chimera in the backfield and the hellhound. Not a good round of shooting overall, as I was really hoping to net another kill point!

The elusive KP finally emerged when the thunderwolf ate the infantry squad for breakfast, after they failed their leadership test, but left the WGBL exposed as I had feared...

Then, disaster struck!

We were told on the way up to Nottingham (a 4.5 hour journey from the south coast) that the games would last 2 hours each. Now, even this was a little tight, as I knew from experience that completing a 1500pt battle in this time was a little optimistic! So at the end of turn two when we learned that we would only get a total of 1.5h [er game, I was not impressed!

However, in war we must adapt to changing circumstances, so after a quick moan we carried on, agreeing that we would only have time to complete the third turn...

KP score 3:2 

IG Turn 3:

Knowing that this was his last turn, Craig tried to catch up the 1 KP deficit and preserve his easy targets from reprisal. To this end, he closed in on my WGBL with his plasma toting Executioner and special weapons squad. He also advanced towards the central rhino with his meltas and his squads on my right fell back out of charge range.

Unsurprisingly, 5 plasma templates (including 3 direct hits!) and 4 rapid firing plasma guns rinsed through my WGBL's T5, W2 and 3++ save. The melta guns also managed to slag the rhino, taking the IG into the lead. Other shooting was thankfully relatively ineffective, with the mortars causing a single casualty on my Long Fangs and the twin-linking lascannon squad stunning the right hand razorback under the 'bring it down' order.

KP score 3:4

SW Turn 3:

SW Turn 3

Crunch time. I needed 2 KP to win, and there were plenty of juicy targets to choose from! Unfortunately, time was running out and I had about 10 minutes to complete my turn!

My adrenaline was pumping as I moved the dread on the left towards the depleted plasma squad in the crater of the chimera. If I could cause one casualty, it would force a leadership test. If they were running at the end of the game, it would be a KP to me.

My remaining forces rushed closer to the two squads in the middle and the stunned chimera. Although I had used one of the combi-meltas last turn, I still had 3 more melta shots available between the two central units of grey hunters, plus a lascannon on the Fangs' razorback, 4 missiles, the living lightning from the remaining priest and the another dread to shoot. By this time, I only had 5 minutes to shoot them!

So the dread on the left managed to waste one of the plasma squad in cover, forcing a leadership test as I'd hoped. The hunters with the single melta shot left hit but only stunned the chimera, and the lascannon could do no more, leaving it up to the other grey hunter squad to leave it a steaming wreck. The other dread and lighting managed to fell two of the depleted central infantry squads, but some terrible scatters and some impressive armour saves from the command squad meant that there were no further casualties.

On to combat, and I realised to my horror that because the chimera was wrecked, I could no longer multi-charge my hunter squads into the nearby infantry! Noooooo!!!!!

All that was left to do was roll two sets of leadership tests for the squads who had lost members this turn. Surely one of them would fail with the Guard's low leadership...

Craig picked up the dice, rolled for the plasma squad... Who passed! Then for the remaining squad.... Who also passed!

End Game (Turn 3!)

What had seemed like a certain victory at the beginning of my turn had somehow resulted in a cheeky draw!

Final score: 4-4 KPs (Draw)

Post-Game Analysis:

Well for my first ever tournament game, I have to say I'm very happy. To have been in the lead the whole game with a strong chance of winning, especially vs a veteran with a decent list, was a much better performance than I hoped! I can forgive myself for throwing three game away at the end considering how little time I had and how much adrenaline was pumping through my veins! However, looking back there were a number of things I would do differently next time...

Firstly, and most obviously, my target priority went to pieces at the end. I should have shot the grey hunters at the infantry squads, allowing for a multi-charge against the chimera (which didn't move the previous turn) with krak grenades. The hunters would have stomped the two small squads, probably giving me the two KP I needed.

I think I got a bit hung up on that chimera to be honest. I'd been blasting it with krak missiles, autocannon side shots and melta all game, and it would just not die! Looking back, there were much better targets nearby, e.g. the lascannon heavy weapons team and command squad, both of which had no cover and should have folded to a long range blasting! I'd found autocannons to be excellent at tagging heavy weapons teams in my previous game vs Guard, as S7 insta-gibbs the T3 W2 bases. Lesson learned there!

Taking another look at the photos, I also think that my right hand flank dread and razorback should have been deployed further to the side. They still would have been in range, but the nearby forest would have allowed cover saves. This would also have also allowed clear lines of sight to the central chimera. Minor point but it all adds up!

So does anyone have any other comments? Any glaring errors or things I could have improved on?

Siege of Sussex - Tournament Prep

Warhammer World, Nottingham

Having decided to settle on a list fairly early, I had managed to get in a few good games against a mix of opponents leading up to the Siege. I had played Blood Angels three times, Eldar twice, and Imperial Guard, Space Marines (Fists) and Tau once each. Every game I felt I was learning and hopefully getting a better grasp of the rules, but as far a thorough tournament preparation goes, I was certainly lacking in experience against a large number of different opponents!

With no hope of getting any more games in, I had to rely on the trusty source of reliable information that is the internet (...) for a better understanding of what I might be facing and form at least a vague plan on how to handle typical styles of play (if not specific army builds) I might face. With this is mind, I scoured one of my favourite sites (3++) for clues.

A lot of reading later, I was a little more confident and felt at the very least that I could identify which armies I would generally need to play aggressively against (IG, Tau, any predominantly shooty army) and which armies I would expect to play more defensively against (Tyranids, Orks, any army with significantly better combat or mobility advantage).

The biggest black hole for me was Grey Knights. I was really not sure about the best way to approach these beasts. At 30" (24" + 6" move), these guys would match or better my shooting, plus be able to ignore the majority or my suppression fire (Dreads and Long Fangs) vs their vehicles. Not good. Added to this, with force weapons as standard and no doubt a large dash of I6 halberds, chasing these blighters down in combat wasn't necessarily a great option either. I came to the conclusion that if in doubt, concentrate on the mission and try not to get distracted by heavy casualties. Not a grand strategy exactly, but it was better than nothing!

Ready for War

I was happy that I had a pretty good idea of how to use my list at a basic level. Typically, Fangs in cover at the back, dreads and razors near the rear sides to maneuver to get side shots and push forward if required (dreads as optional tap pit against squads without power fists), grey hunters pile into midfield with melta/bolter/combat goodness, and the pod to target important tanks or Jaws poorly deployed squads, otherwise sit on a rear objective. Oh, and the WGBL on the Thunderwolf as a combat support unit if he didn't die to massed firepower in the first turn.

I had a reasonable (but fragile) scoring presence with four troop choices, decent anti-tank and anti-infantry spread throughout the army at a variety of different range bands, and enough redundancy and mech to take a few punches and still bite back. The army was definitely a little top heavy for my liking with three HQ choices, but as noted previously, this served the purpose of giving me a fighting chance to get the whole army painted in time!

I had just finished painting my pups to the minimum requirements (3 colours, based plus faces and hair) at 11pm the night before (thankfully this was only one guy's face, as I had managed to do the rest earlier in the week), and with a great sense of excitement, I settled down for a good (read terrible) few hours sleep before my alarm went off at 3:45am...

Siege of Sussex - List Development

The Final List

Before I post the first battle report, I'd like to to go over the development of my army list. Firstly, I must say that my list was ok, but far from optimal. I knew this at the time, but I had to go with not only what was available form my model collection, but also how much I could get assembled and painted in time!

When I signed up for the tournament, I had approximately 1000pts painted with three colours (I build up the power armour in about 6 different stages, so it takes me a while!). That meant that I had about 5 weeks, therefore 5 games, to finish building, painting and getting the hang of the list, so I decided that I was only going to be able to make minor tweaks as I went along. Now I'm not the greatest painter in the world, but I think I do ok. The thing is, I get easily demotivated if I think a paint job isn't as good as it could be. Because of this, I wasn't prepared to rush just to get a poor finish to play in a few games, only to have to repaint the models at a later stage. Anyway, on to the initial list!

Siege of Sussex - SW v1.0

Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Tempest's Wrath)

Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
5 Wolf Guard (Drop pod, 4 combi-meltas, Cyclone Missile Launcher)

3x 7 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta, banner, mark of the wolfen)
5 Grey Hunters (Lasplas razorback, melta)

Fast Attack
1 Thunderwolf Cavalry (Wolf claw)

Heavy Support
5 Long Fangs (Lasplas razorback, 4 missile launchers)
Total 1465pts

8 hulls
27 marines (1 TDA)
1 Cavalry
15-16 Kill Points

At this stage, I hadn't decided on how best to use the last 35 points. I could have just given the TWC a storm shield and melta bombs, or gone for another WG with combi-melta plus extras.

WGBL - Work in progress

Looking at the list, the thunderwolf stood out. I do have 3 more models, but since they are non-GW, I wouldn't be able to use them! I had thought about keeping him in reserve, as he is really a counter-assault unit, especially with the 19-24" charge range. I was reluctant to give him the storm shield (gotta love magnets!), as I expected he'd get cover from the rhinos, or be torrented to death anyway!

Thing is, I liked the Thunderwolf as a supporting element for my Grey Hunters, who didn't have any power weapons. They did have the Mark of the Wolfen, but nothing makes MEQ cry like a power weapon (ok, there are lots of other things too, but you know what I mean)! I could use the last few points to buy two squads power swords, which with the Rune Priest's force weapon would balance out nicely. Certainly an option.

I had considered replacing the regular thunderwolf with a Wolf Guard Battle Leader, but that would require nearly a hundred points I'd have to find from somewhere else in the list. I could take out the banners, MotW, and/or a few marines and this would certainly save me some painting time! It would also give me a better initiative and weapon skill, but not an extra wound, so would still die fairly easily to massed firepower. Generally, I think it's better to go with more cavalry to support a WGBL/Wolf Lord if you're going to take a thunderwolf HQ, or at least some Fenrisian Wolves, but sadly neither was an option.

As an alternative to the thunderwolf as a counter-assault unit, I had considered a Lone Wolf or two. I'm working on a couple with the typical thunderhammer/storm shield in terminator armour set up, but my problem was that my Elite slots was filled by my Dreads, and I didn't have enough Long Fangs to balance out the loss of long range suppression/light mech destruction. I did have an assembled Vindicator and Godhammer Landraider, but neither fitted the bill really. So Dreads it was!

'Rifledread' 01 - Work in progress

I also struggled to decide how to make the most of the drop pod.

I liked having a projected threat during deployment, giving my opponent something to worry about. For example, I expected to usually use the combi-melta wolf guard with the grey hunters, possibly swapping in the CML for the small squad and a wolf guard as an ablative wound for the long fangs. However, there was the option to put three combi-meltas/CML/Rune Priest (or combination thereof) in there as an alpha strike if there is a particularly juicy target. This might work better if my second power was Jaws?

I also like the idea of having the option to 'feint' with the pod, forcing my opponent to deploy defensively to counter the alpha strike threat, then either dropping it empty or at mid/long range with the CML and a couple of friends. I think this 'threat/feint' pod idea works better at 2000pts, when I can get double CMLs in, but was struggling to get it working comfortably in this list (I also didn't have a second CML either!).

CML - Work in progress

Giving the list, particularly the cavalry and pod, further thought, I realised I could loose the thunderwolf entirety and use the points for a second Rune Priest with LL/Jaws. Good for added pod threat and other obvious goodness, including a replacement force weapon having lost the wolf claw.

Then I thought, well what if I removed the marines with the banner and MotW, as I had considered earlier? This would give me enough points for a TW WGBL! Reduced my scoring reliability, but nice extra threat, albeit a bit exposed without any cavalry support...

After much thought, and no play testing whatsoever, I settled on version 2.0 of my list:

Siege of Sussex - SW v2.0

Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Tempest's Wrath)
Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Jaws of the World Wolf, bolter)
Wolf Guard Battle Leader (Thunderwolf, Wolf Claw, Storm Shield, melta bombs)

Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
5 Wolf Guard (Lasplas razorback, 4 combi-meltas, Cyclone Missle Launcher)

3x 5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta)
5 Grey Hunters (Drop pod, melta)

Heavy Support
5 Long Fangs (Lasplas razorback, 4 missile launchers)

Total 1500pts

8 hulls
32 marines (1 TDA)
1 Cavalry
17-18 Kill Points

Two Rune Priests - Work in progress

Swapped the pod to the hunters, added more pod threat, and loaded up on HQ, primarily to minimise how much I had to build and paint!

First trial of the list was vs a good (nearly net list, but with minor modifications) Blood Angels jumper list and I was pretty pleased. We called it after a couple of turns as we ran out of time, at which point I was loosing by one objective (out of 5), but had just killed Mephiston in one turn of shooting (he'd failed to charge my bait with a mediocre run roll and was left standing in the open...) and only suffered minor casualties, so was looking good for the following turns!

After further play testing, and painting, I decided that I'd prefer to model both my rune priests with bolt pistols. I was thinking long term here, so rather than have a bolter on one, I decided to move the melta bombs from the WGBL over to the Jaws priest (the one with the two headed axe!). Not likely to use it, but hey, I had run out of magnets and was happier with the models.

So, the final list was:

Siege of Sussex - SW v2.1 (Final List)

Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Tempest's Wrath)
Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Jaws of the World Wolf, melta bombs)
Wolf Guard Battle Leader (Thunderwolf mount, wolf claw, storm shield)

Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
5 Wolf Guard (Lasplas razorback, 4 combi-meltas, Cyclone Missle Launcher)

5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta)
5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta)
5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta)
5 Grey Hunters (Drop pod, melta)

Heavy Support
5 Long Fangs (Lasplas razorback, 4 missile launchers)

Total 1500pts

8 hulls
32 marines (1 TDA)
1 Cavalry
17-18 Kill Points
3 + 1 troops
1 threat/feint drop pod
2 LL
6 missiles
4 tl-autoconnons
8 melta (4 single shot)
2 lasplas
2 force weapons
1 wolf claw
1 power weapon
1 melta bomb

As I said at the start, not my ideal list and certainly not optimised, but good enough for a start!