Battle Report: Playing Against Superheavies

Last sunday I had the pleasure of playing with Evil Dice’s own WaaaaghDynasty and his ork army.

In particular, my opponent’s list featured the dynamic duo of a Renegade Imperial Knight and the special Forgeworld “Buzzgob’s Kustom Stompa”.

And what an amazingly gorgeous Knight it was!

Since the conundrum of how to deal with Superheavy vehicles and Gargantuan creatures is something that frequently comes up from people used to earlier editions of the game, I’ll be focusing on that aspect of the game when talking about the tactics in the game.

Eldar List:

Core: Guardian Stormhost

-3x storm guardian squads with free meltas/power swords and Spear Warlocks
-1x farseer with spear and Spirit Stone of Anlathan
-1x Vyper with scatter laser and shuriken cannon
-1x D-Cannon battery with 2 cannons and warlock
-1x War Walker with 2x Bright Lances

Auxiliary: Living Legends

-Avatar of Khaine

Auxiliary: Wraith Constructs

-Hemlock Wraithfighter

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Auxiliary: Aspect Host (+1BS)

-Dire Avengers plus Diresword Exarch
-Swooping hawks plus Sunrifle Exarch
-Dark Reapers x5 with EML Exarch

Harlequin Formation: Cast of Players

-Troupe with 3x Caresses, 2x Embraces
-Shadowseer with ML2, Mask of Secrets
-Death Jester with Haywire Grenades

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And the list andrew brought was an ork CAD with lots of forgeworld plus a Renegade Knight “its a knight” detachment.

HQ:

-Zhardsnark “Da Rippa” (A Forgeworld biker boss who brings an I4 power klaw, Skilled Rider, and makes warbikers troop choices)

No Slot:

-Mekboy

Troops:

-2x squads of 3 warbikers
-2x squads of Trukk boyz with nob+klaw
-Gretchin squad to give the stompa obsec

Elites:

-2x squads of 5 tankbustas with 3 bomb squigs each in trukks

Fast Attack:

-1 squad of 3 Warbuggies with 1x Grot Bomb each

Lord of War:

-Buzzgob’s Kustom Big Mek Stompa + Deffcannon

Renegade Knight Detachment:

-Renegade Knight Errant with Thermal Cannon

Deployment:

We rolled on the maelstrom table and got Tactical Escalation, meaning we would be deploying on the short edges. Then we rolled up traits and powers, and I got the “+1 to seize the initiative, reroll reserves” Strategic trait, along with fairly lackluster power rolls.

For our objective placement, I actually favored quite a few close to the center of the table. I knew that my strategy was going to revolve around a critical turn in the center of the board, and my hope was for one of two scenarios to occur:

1) I go first, and pop a couple trukks. Then, with the orks stuck in the backfield, the superheavies move forward to contest objectives allowing me to have a possibility of hurting them with my short ranged melta weaponry, or

2) I go second, the ork infantry rushes forward to tie me up and screen the superheavies, giving me the opportunity to focus my entire army on killing everything that WASN’T a superheavy so I could spend the rest of the game running away and win through the objectives.

Andrew placed two objectives in what would turn out to be his backfield, and one in what would turn out to be my backfield.

Andrew deployed first, the stompa dead center, the knight on my far right flank, and the trukks spread across the field.

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The ork battle line is raring to go on the deployment line

 

I responded by spreading my storm guardians across a large piece of cover at my deployment line with the avatar front and center, hoping to draw fire to the relatively unimportant guardian line who could just go to ground plus night fight for a solid 3+ cover save. My long range shooting elements all deployed in cover, with my Harlequins and Dire Avengers+Farseer out of line of sight to hopefully keep them from just getting Deffcannoned before they got to do anything.

 

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The Eldar hide behind pretty much every available object

 

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Green = Orks, Yellow = Eldar, Black Circles = Objectives

 

Eldar Turn 1: MVP Warlord Trait Strikes

My farseer’s trait enabled me to seize the initative, and I moved my three long ranged units into position to shoot any trukks I could see. This resulted in 2 trukk explosions right off the bat, with both boyz squads out in the open. Other than that, I just tried to set up defensive psychic powers on everybody, and succeeded on all but one guardian squad.

Anti-Superheavy Tactics: Note that even though I had long ranged firepower which would seem to be perfectly suited to taking some HP off the AV13 front face of the Stompa or Knight. However, I decided to focus on dealing damage to the non-superheavy elements of the army because I definitely did not have the weaponry available to kill the superheavy in one turn.

 

Score 1-0 Eldar

Ork turn 1: The Waaagh Advances

The ork horde moves out, stymied somewhat by the blown up trukks. Both boyz squads advance forwards, and one tankbusta squad kills my Vyper. The stompa trundles up 12″ and blasts away at the storm guardians, wounding the avatar once and killing 3 storm guardians from the squad that didnt get Conceal/Reveal off. The knight walks up the far edge of the board and takes a potshot at the Dark Reapers but scatters somewhat and is thwarted by Night Fight cover saves.

Score 1-2 Orks

Eldar Turn 2: Stemming the Tide

This turn is where counter-superheavy tactics come into play. I have anti tank elements that could target superheavies (War Walker, Dark Reapers, Swooping Hawks with a Haywire ‘nade, and a Hemlock with D weaponry) and I am possibly in position to kill the Knight if I focus all fire on it. However, this would leave a large amount of the ork horde, plus the stompa, all very much alive and capable of hurting me, and I can’t bring any of my melta guns or the avatar to bear against it.

So instead, I decide that I have a pretty solid shot at taking out a significant chunk of the exposed ork infantry. If I leave him without a way to reliably contest objectives, I can win by dragging the game out and running him around the board. My warlord trait reroll lets both my reserves come in (best trait ever), and I decide to pull a little trick to significantly slow down the knight.

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The Knight is stymied from reaching the Eldar line while in the foreground, the Where’s Waldo nob valiantly holds out against his Eldar attackers.

Anti-Superheavy Tactics: The swooping hawks deep strike right near the knight, effectively pinning it between the board edge and themselves. While these paper-thin little birdies aren’t going to survive the turn, he can’t kill them in his movement phase, so the knight can’t move 12″ towards the bulk of my units. You don’t need no scatter deep strike to pull something like this – often, a drop pod or empty transport can severely limit the damage a superheavy or souped-up enemy melee unit can do to your army.

ik-block

In shooting, the boyz, tankbustas, and the unsupported squad of bikers are all nearly wiped out, and the D-blasts from the Hemlock fighter wreck both the trukk and mega-dread on the backfield objective. I use the tall building in the center of the field to make sure the ork anti-aircraft gun can’t draw line of sight to my fighter, though there’s still the tankbustas to worry about. I leave the Avatar out front and center, figuring that he will probably die on the charge to the Stompa, but since his initiative is higher I can still get most of his melee damage off before he goes.

Score 2-2

Ork Turn 2: Da Boyz Strike Back

My shift into an offensive stance has left most of my units in somewhat exposed positions, and I expect to take some pretty heavy casualties this turn. The orks do not disappoint. One squad storm guardians gets wiped by the vengeful Zhardsnark and pal, though they do manage to bring down the last nob before they get taken out. The Knight and boyz stomp the poor birdies into dust. The stompa takes out a large chunk of the storm guardian squad near the avatar, as well as several of the Dire Avengers out of my Farseer’s squad in an attempt to get Kingslayer, but rolls a 1 to wound the avatar and then flubs the 6″ charge to go kill him. The Deffbuggies arrive from reserves and outflank to grot bomb the snot out of the Harlequin formation – veil of tears doesn’t work well from 4″ away. The Tankbustas do take a hull point off the Hemlock, but don’t kill it.

Score 2-3 Orks

Eldar Turn 3: The Craftworld is Our Home, and We Are Her Guardians

With the Stompa easily in range of 4 melta guns as well as the D-battery, it’s time to attack one of the superheavies at last. The Hemlock moves off into the threat range of the Trakktor kannon, but Terrify, coupled with the -2LD Mindshock pods does terrible things to the LD5 grots, and they flee. A psychic shriek also takes down Zhardsnark, who unfortunately is pretty reliant on cover saves to survive.

When it comes to taking out the stompa, the D-cannons actually aren’t very effective. Between the two they remove a single hull point, but luckily the combination of lances and meltas are able to burn through its 11 remaining HP.

stompa-takedown

Anti-Superheavy Tactics: Every anti tank element of my army is capable of committing to killing the stompa if things go badly for me. If you do decide to attack a superheavy during your turn, make sure you work to insulate yourself against the possibility of bad rolling denying you the kill. Keep in mind, I was expecting the Avatar to get charged and
Score 6-3 Eldar

Orks turn 4: The Knight’s Last Stand

Hungry for revenge, the knight stomps in once more, blows away the half-strength guardian squad to remove 2 meltaguns, and charges the Avatar. Unfortunately, the Avatar gets 4 hits, 4 pens, and 1 explode result to take the knight down before he can bring the deadly strength D sword to bear.

The game is called, 6-3 in favor of the Eldar.

 

Tactical Thoughts:

As per usual with a game of 40k, luck played a deciding factor in the outcome of the game, particularly the seize the initiative roll at the beginning. These lists turned out to be a fairly interesting matchup to each other, and I definitely think the Eldar would have been hard-pressed without the early opportunity to take the wind out of the orks’ sails.

Since hindsight is 20/20, I’d also like to offer some thoughts on the things we could have done differently in game to change the outcome.

Most of the clear mistakes that were made throughout the game I believe were made in deployment, on both sides. My opponent deployed in such a way that had he gotten turn 1, things would have been OK, but the seize really messed him up. Sometimes taking that risk is worthwhile as a fast assault army, and you really do gain a lot by getting your units up on that deployment line so they can get into a solid turn 1 position, but in this case, trukks are very fast. You don’t need to be right on the line to get trukks into a very solid position turn 1, they move 24″ between movement and flat out. For trukks it is always worth making sure they are all behind cover. If my opponent had gotten 3+ cover save rolls against all my turn 1 shots, I would almost certainly not have blown up any trukks, and my seizing would have had a very small effect on my opponent.

Second would be the positioning of the superheavies. Positioning the superheavies behind the trukk line allowed me to slow them down by blowing up trukks (which again, ties in with the Seizing thing from before). Also, the knight was hard on one board edge. This is a good place to put him if you’re worried about stuff dropping in and you want to limit the angles people can attack him from, but it leaves him open to the kind of suicide delaying tactics I used turn 2 with my Hawks. If a superheavy is capable of being pinned by a flat-outing empty transport, a small fast mobile unit, or a drop pod/deep striker, the opponent is likely to do that. However, if the super can go either direction around an opponent’s screen unit as you see above, the effect of the screen is greatly lessened. Imperial Knights and Wraithknights especially rely heavily on their capabilities in melee to be effective, even the full ranged variants, who will want to be controlling the board with the threat of them stomping stuff into the dirt. With this kind of list, the superheavies will most often want to be the lynchpins who take the early ranged fire, so that the speedy but not very durable ork units can charge up and score objectives/punch enemy units in melee. It’s best to position them in a place where it is very difficult to delay them.

On my end, I had several very expensive units who basically did nothing in the game because I deployed them very defensively. My Harlequins, Dire Avengers+Farseer, and D-Cannon batteries were basically ineffectual, and I should have placed them such that they were better able to threaten enemy units if I wanted to take an aggressive stance. The D-cannons could have been placed toe-in up front in the center of the board, guaranteeing they could take a good shot turn 1 had my opponent gone first. The Harlequins could have taken a more open running lane on the far flank and still been out of line of sight turn 1, and the Farseer could have spread out in the terrain he was in to make himself a target of shooting, with the assumption that he would just go to ground for a 2+ cover save with night fight turn 1.

Of course, this was only one of the many exciting games we had going on at the bunker this week! For more after action reports, or if you’re interested in stopping by to play a game, check out our forum at https://www.evildice40k.com/forum

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