Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Salamanders vs Tyranids

Continuing my lessons on 7th Edition gaming, I teamed up with Sgt Waz to take on his brother’s Nid list. We had a force of Salamanders that included a decked out Chapter Master transported in a Landraider Redeemer, two Tactical Squads in Rhino transports, an Honour Guard unit transported in a Stormraven with a Venerable Dreadnought, two Stormtalon gunships and a Librarian.
The Tyranid force was a roll call of horror. Led by the Swarmlord and his three Tyrant Guard, it included a flying Hive Tyrant with Brainleech Devourers, a Malanthrope, Mawloc, Tyrannofex, Dimachaeron, Hive Crone, Zoanthrope brood and three broods of Termagants.
We played the same mission: 6 objective markers on the board and tactical objectives cards. This time I knew how they worked and went into the game with a far more aggressive playing style.
The Nids set up first and we noticed early on that the Swarmlord and Dimachaeron were both on the same flank. Considering their potent close combat ability, we deployed so as to deny that flank. It would leave some objective markers incontestable in the early turns of the game, but we planned to have some things alive to contest in the end game (preferably when both of those Nids were dead). Our flyers were all kept in reserve, because that’s where they have to start the game. We failed to seize the initiative, so sat back with a packet of bizarre Korean rice crackers (sooo tasty) and prepared to whether the storm…

Turn 1
The Hive Crone and Flyrant combined to take down a Rhino and win first blood. Thankfully the Tactical Squad inside were fairly unharmed and prepared to return the favour next turn. The Dimacaeron, Zoanthrope and Malanthrope with attending Termagant broods took four objective markers between them. The Tyranid psychic phase was ridiculous.
During our turn we pushed the surviving Rhino and Redeemer forward to engage the foe, focusing fire on the Flyrant, Crone and Swarmlord, whittling down wounds.

Turn 2
The Hive Crone engaged the Tactical squad with its Drool Cannon killing a handful, whilst the Tyrannofex took a hull point off the Redeemer. The flying Tyrant destroyed another Rhino whilst the Dimachaeron and Swarmlord began trudging there way over to where their presence was most needed: the opposite flank! A brood of termagants secured the objective vacated by the Dimachaeron, under the watchful synapse of the Zoanthrope Brood.
Redeemer moved into position to take the Flyrant down during the shooting phase, unloading the Chapter Master to charge the Tyrannofex. The first Tactical squad fired at Termagants protected by the Malanthrope, then charged into finish them off. Unfortunately, the Malanthrope had other ideas, gassing 5 marines during the Initiative 1 step with its toxic miasma. The other Tactical squad held back its fire so that it could charge a unit of Termagants and contest an objective. They succeeded the charge distance roll, wiping out the Nids and stealing the objective. The Chapter Master knocked the Tyrannofex down to 1 wound, leaving him safe from any shooting during the next Nid turn: perfect.

Turn 3
The Swarmlord and Dimachaeron closed in on the Chapter Master but couldn’t make the charge range. Meanwhile, the Zoanthrope brood moved within Warp Blast range of the Redeemer and unleashed a focused lance attack, which failed to do any damage. A Mawloc tunnelled right underneath one of our newly scoring Tactical squads and wiped out 8 models; in all of my games I have never seen a Mawloc attack so effectively! Thankfully, we still had two there to contest the marker. In close combat the Malanthrope and Tactical marines continued to slog it out, with the death of one marine to the poisoned attacks. The Chapter Master thumped the Tyrannofex into oblivion with his Thunderhammer and eyeballed the approaching Swarm Lord and Dimachaeron. Time for some epic “lone-Space-Marine-holding-the-midfield-against-two-monstrous-creatures” action.
The Stormtalons roared in on either flank; on the left we had one take down 5 termagants and rout them. Thanks to the previous aggressive move by the Zoanthropes, these termagants were out of synapse and fled off the objective marker. The other flyer took some shots at the Mawloc in the hope of preserving our scoring unit there; we had only one turn to save them before they would be assaulted. With that in mind the Redeemer opened up on it as well, putting a total of 4 wounds on it: still not enough. The Chapter Master engaged his relic armour’s 2+ invulnerable save, charged the Swarmlord and issued a challenge.  The Swarm Lord refused the challenge and sat back whilst his Hive Guard were smashed, leaving only one left standing on a single wound.

Turn 4
The Zoanthropes had another go at lancing the Redeemer but didn’t even succeed in manifesting the power. The newly rallied termagants charged the Chapter Master, to at least hold him in place for the Dimachaeron should the Swarmlord fail in killing him. As predicted the Mawloc charged the two remaining Tactical marines, whilst the Hive Crone did a vector strike on the Stormtalon, destroying it, before flying off the board. The Swarm Lord and the Chapter Master smashed into each other, with the Swarm Lord taking two wounds and the death of the last Tyrant Guard. The Mawloc only managed to kill one of the Tactical marines, forcing us off the objective due to a failed morale test and the Mawlocs equal failure to capture us in sweeping advance. The Dimachaeron tried to smash the Redeemer but failed to penetrate its armour.
During our turn the Stormraven finally arrived from reserve with its precious cargo. The Librarian performed an aggressive drop on an objective marker but scattered way off it. The Honour Gurard deployed in position to save the lone surviving Tactical marine and finish off the Mawloc. The Venerable Dreadnought also deployed in position to attack some Termagants holding an objective. The Redeemer moved into position and blasted some more wounds off the Mawloc. The Venerable Dreadnought and Stormraven unloaded on the Termagants, killing all but two of the little blighters. The surviving Stormtalon on the left flank stayed in possession of the objective marker and pumped fire into the Zoanthrope brood, but failed to make an impression. In close combat the Swarmlord took another two wounds, leaving it with one remaining. The Dimachaeron succeeded in immobalising the Redeemer, and the Mawloc survived a turn against the Honour Guard. The Malanthrope (who by this stage I had maturely labelled “Senor Farty Pants”) killed a marine. The Venerable Dreadnought finished off the Termagants with its close combat weapon. We scored a heap of VP’s this turn, due to a Tactical Objective card that rewarded us for holding twice as many objectives as the enemy.
Turn 5
By this point the game was really in the balance. Early objective marker captures had netted the Nids a large number of victory points, but they were now holding no objectives. We, on the other hand, had some sweet Tactical Objective cards in our hand that we were now in a position to cash in, if we could just survive the final onslaught.

The Nid turn started with the Hive Crone returning but having no real target. Hoping for another turn or two, it flew towards the surviving Stormtalon. The Zoanthropes failed to damage the Redeemer again and the Dimachaeron moved to engage the Librarian. In close combat the Swarmlord finally killed the Chapter Master, but was left exposed in front of the immobalised Redeemer… The Dimachaeron absolutely murdered the Librarian, capturing the nearby objective with its consolidation move. Senor Farty Pants killed another Marine, whilst the Mawloc was finally killed by the Company Champion’s Thunderhammer.
In our turn, which turned out to be the last turn of the game, we played to our Tactical Objectives above all other considerations. The Redeemer shot the final wound off the Swarmlord, giving us a VP for killing the warlord. The Stormraven (to the soundtrack of Rick Hunter’s Theme: Robotech) launched a volley of missiles at the Hive Crone, chipping away at its wounds. The Stormtalon finished it off with its twin-linked assault cannons and lascannons.
This gave us more VP’s due to another Tactical Objective card that focuses on killing Flyers. The Honour Guard charged the Malanthrope and the Champion issued a challenge, scoring us another VP (you guessed it) for the “issuing-a-challenge-tactical-objective-card”. At the end of the game, when the Line Breaker points had been taken into consideration, the Salamanders were victorious: 10 – 8 on VPs.

 Final Thoughts on Tactical Objective Cards
The Good:
Tactical objectives force you to be a more dynamic player, encouraging you to do things on the spur of the moment that you usually would not do (…challenge the Swarmlord with a Veteran Sergeant to earn one VP? Yes please).

Your list needs to be mobile and capable of covering a broad spectrum of battlefield roles.
You must come up with tactical solutions to rapidly evolving battlefield situations every turn. For this reason alone they have a valued place in the game, because it gives us a new way to play.

The Bad:
It is very random and may favour one player unfairly during the course of the match.

Conceptually, a lot of the things that end up happening in the game simply do not make sense; it is a step away from narrative based play.

See you across the table,