Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Forays into Footslogging: No Forgiveness

The picture should give you an idea of how the second march of the Green Knights went. The answer is 'not very well.'

Talking about it after the action, my opponent mentioned that playing a footslogging army can be a huge learning experience in terms of planning, and an appreciation for what mobility gives you.

I think he's right.


He rolled with Chaos that looked like:

Winged Nurgle DP

Nurgle Lord w/ Daemon Weapon

2 Dreadnoughts w/ Missile Launchers

Plague Marine squad w/ fist champ, 2x plasma in Rhino

2 CSM squads w/ Chaos Glory, fist, 2x flamers in Rhinos

small squad of summoned lesser daemons.


3x Oblits

3x Oblits

Scenario: 4 objectives, Pitched Battle

Things Fall Apart
So, he let me go first. This is not generosity on his part.

This is him letting me spread myself out, while he can then concentrate his forces. I have to basically take half my DZ to give guys cover, and then place the Terminators across the front. It's a matter of cover, since there are a crap-ton of plasma weapons and a battle cannon out there. I am not surprised when a Defiler gets crammed into a corner, and his Rhinos go across from my objectives.

Target Priority, what?
My gut tells me that I hate Obliterators, so instead of shooting at his Rhinos, I drop a full squad of Oblits s he is unable to make a cover save against lascannons. My Grey Knights pop the Plague Marine/Lord rhino.

This is, honestly, where the game goes way downhill for me. On the bright side, he's down three oblits, and his plague marines are walking.

On the other hand? ALL his marines should be walking, or at least another squad should be. A couple turns later, I've shot down the plague marine squad, but his lord, two CSM squads, and the Daemon Prince are in my lines. It goes downhill from here.

By 'downhill' I mean that after five turns, the remains are:

1 beat-up CSM squad in a rhino on one of my objectives.
1 squad of Oblits
Lesser Daemons on an objective in his DZ
1 Rhino minus its pintle combi-blter

Castellan w/ some of his squad
one Elite terminator squad
one initiatate (one GUY, not one squad)

The Lessons here...
As we can see, his target priority was killing my troops. Between my error in target priority and his exploitation of them, well, that was pretty much game. I did not take away his mobility advantage, and that cost me. Instead of having another couple turns to shoot at his troops (and maybe nuke a second squad) I ended up having to try to crack the transports, and then deal with his troops. Better target priority would probably have let me KO another rhino or two, then feed the Oblits lascannon death while hitting his troops with small arms fire.

Deployment is Bloody Important
In terms of movement, well, obviously I have to kind of figure out where I want my guys to go pretty much from the time I set them on the table. On the other hand, it's hard to NOT cluster up in deployment. This is painful because it'll let the enemy multi-assault, and/or abuse you with blast weapons. I'm not sure I have an answer to this, especially if there's a Battle Cannon or three in the other side's back field. On the other hand, spreading out too much means I'm not going to reinforce my line, and I'm subject to having a flank targeted and consumed.

I'm much more used to being on the other side of this kind of tactic. It hurts, I'll tell you that much from being on the recieving end. It hurts because it works; you take that much longer to respond to any development that requires repositioning forces. On the other hand, I think this is a huge lesson to pick up from this army.

Holy Stupidity and Assault
Holy Rage is really cool until someone WANTS to be in assault with you. Then, they'll abuse it. That also cost me some shooting, as my guys got indignant when shot at, then rushed into assault range, and...yeah. Another turn of shooting, lost. Holy Rage is neat against shooty armies, but painful against someone who is trying to draw you in.

And when you get down to it, a 10-man squad is a decent enough match for terminators, for the most part. If they can get the charge off, they might drop one with shooting, might drop another with assault at initiative, then it's down to three, and they might manage to make a trade of it after another phase.

Speed Kills
It also hurts when, y'know, they have higher-initative power weapons. Nurgle daemon weapons are basically +d6 attack lightning claws, and can also butcher monstrous creatures. So, of course, the Lord rolled a '6' when he got into assault, and wiped the squad. The Emperor's champion managed to shank him back (two failed saves combined with a wound from the shooting), and then he got drug down by the squad. Similarly, 5+ invulnerable saves will not actually protect Grey Knights from a Daemon Prince.

Simply put, a foot-based list does not offer a lot in the way of forgiveness. You do it right and kill the enemy's mobility really quick, or, he schools you hard. With this army, there's also the risk that the enemy will pop troop units, which means you're stuck trading lascannon fire for movement. Given Holy Stupidity, you might be moving them back into cover/on objectives anyway. That aside, this list is an interesting one, just with some idiosyncracies I'm not used to. Maybe it was not the army to take to the table after a month-long game, yes? Oh well.

Obligatory Tyranid Comment
I am really not looking forward to what a Mawloc or two would do to this army. I think the answer is 'wreck it hardcore.'

And, of course, I choose to laugh at the funny stuff and learn from mistakes, rather than cry over the pretty comprehensive beating I got. The highlights include:
-the Brother-Captain managed to put the killing wound into the Daemon Prince, avenging his squad
-the Emperor's Champion managed to get two hits and two wounds into the Chaos Lord, who promptly failed both saves
-the surviving Obliterator squad kicked out a lot of plasma cannon fire, only to see a '1' half the time, and scatter off target later on. Unsurprisingly, they switched to lascannons by the end for anti-personnel work
-One Dread fire-frenzied into the back of a Rhino, immobilizing it. It later repaired itself, though.
-Another dread charged into the squad consisting of the Castellan, 2 powerfist termies, and the brother captain. He missed all four attacks, and promptly lost his CCW. We played this out all the way, and by the end of the game he missed a total of EIGHT attacks, and ended up immobilized and weapon-destroyed.
-the Defiler survived 24 assault cannon shots (insult to injury: no damage results were worse than shaken/stunned) though had found cover.


Chumbalaya said...

Ouch, that sounds painful. I've got a similar army (the same damn thing :P) and it does well locally, but mostly because people run 4th ed, foot, or light mech armies. Once a real heavy mech army (or Tyranids, for that matter) shows up, I've got problems. Still a fun departure from my mech marines.

Stelek told me that Holy Rage is like a consolidation move so you *may* move up to the distance you rolled, including nothing at all. Sounds a bit gamey, but there's nothing in the FAQ for it so I'm unsure.

Good luck

Dverning said...

Well, on the upside it sounds like it was a learning experience. The early phases of a list are always the most painful ones anyways.

Raptor1313 said...

Oh, it was painful, but educational. I'll have to double-check the exact wording of Holy Rage and see if I see that in there.

But ,once someone DOES bring a pretty tweaked up, mobile mech army? Bad things happen.

For me, though, it's the highlights and the chance to crush face with powerfists that makes the list worth going back to, beyond the lessons.

haihastur said...


I'm currently building and playtesting a full-termites loganwing.

I can actually relate to some of the points you're making, and give some advices learned on the field :

- target priority indeed : your first targets should always be meched up troops. their is no way to be sure you can still un-mech them at the end of the game, and having them on food helps a lot to even the game, so do it first. Even if in the beginning it feels weird to ignore all those heavy weapons and focus on rhinos >_<

- mobility is the big issue. I found that the extreme range of the CML means a lot for footslogging terminators : it helps balance out their lack of mobility. tank hunter AC may be good, but in my experience they lack range for this kind of list. lascans lacks the basic ability to move to create firelines.

- another solution to the mobility issue is wolf scout units. with meltas. and OBEL. albeit a bit random, they mean you can re-deploy fast. or tri-combi-meltas drop pod (but I don't like pods).

- ennemy target priority is also important : if he has an easy way do get a draw (by killing 20 or so power-armour marines), or can concentrate on half your army first then the rest, then he'll do it. one advantage of running a full-terminator list is that all units are scoring, and none is easier to kill or more dangerous than it's neighbour.

- cramped DZ : same probleme here. the only solutions I found : exploit cover cleverly (only 3 guy out of five need to be in cover), and put some units in reserve. If I can't deploy it securely, I don't hesitate to put the unit in reserve, especially if going second in front of a gunline. Fresh meat for the grinder in the last turns.

- It also kinda help deploiement not to have those extras power-armoured guys :)

I understand the logic behind your list, but I still feel you're lacking the "range~mobility" of the CML, and exposing yourself by having only a part of your army scoring and having long-range fire support.

Still, foot-slogging teminator list are weeeeaaaak, and depend a lot on dies, but a good way to get away from the usual mech lists experience. And they tend to provide a few glorious moments each game too.

Finally, their is no way a weak, themed army list you only have little experience with, could handle an balanced mech list wielded by an experienced player. C'est la vie ;)

Raptor1313 said...

The CML would be the huge selling-point for the wolves, honestly. Range and versatility simply do it for me, in that regard.

The tank-hunting assault cannons are actually reasonably solid in terms of doing damage; eight S7 shots are usually going to do better than two S8 shots, BUT there is the whole '24-inch-range' thing to worry about.

I probably could work it into a Logan-Wing without too terribly much work, but I agree with you on the note that any full-termie army is just NOT THAT GREAT when it comes to winning.