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Open Day at the Battle Bunker
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Open Day at the
Battle Bunker: Fighting Tigers invade Games Workshop
I had already toured GW years ago, I didn’t need to buy any stuff, but I’m always up for a chance to play. I packed up my Fighting Tigers and dusted off a list that I had written up a few months ago but never had the chance to use. It’s designed to counter the popular “Rhino Rush” strategy, where your Space Marine opponent loads up every transport he has with heaps of Tactical dudes and tries to ram them down your throat. The list features lots of heavy weapons just perfect for crippling and popping open Rhinos and Razorbacks. Because you can never have too much mobility, it also features some tanks of its own as well as three squadrons of Land Speeders.
Pat was late getting to the Battle Bunker and while I was waiting for him to arrive, Mike Morris, who recognized me from this site, asked for a game. “Sure,” I replied. “What do you play?”
“Biel-Tan Eldar,” was his reply. I cringed. Eldar give me the willies because they’re always full of nasty surprises. Orks and Tyranids are predictable: you know there’s going to be a heap of them, and they’re going to come across the board as fast as they can. Imperial Guard will hang back and shoot. Dark Eldar will try to run rings around you, but once you knock down those ridiculous spiky kites they call Raiders, their party is over. But Eldar—man, Eldar have about 50 different ways to kick your ass. Especially if you play Space Marines. Arggh.
Claws Against the Swordwind
What happened? I decided that even though Mike’s army was not the kind I had anticipated when drafting the list, I would still pretty much stick to my game plan and just shoot the bejesus out of stuff. I deployed first and put my Vindicator right out front, then plopped down two Tactical units (in cover) to help hold that quarter. I lined up my three Razorback-mounted units (two Tactical Squads and the Command group) to go right and seize the adjacent corner, and placed another Tactical Squad and the Terminators to accompany them, counting on the Razors to block the Eldar’s line of sight to them.
I then lined up all my Land Speeders to go up the left side of the board and seize quarters/cause problems. I placed my Predator Annihilator and Dreadnought up front (but behind cover), near the edge of my deployment zone, so that near the end of the game they could, if necessary, move up and grab/contest quarters.
Mike tucked a unit of Dark Reapers and a Farseer in cover about 18" in front of my Vindicator. He put his Scorpions in cover along his left flank, put the other Dark Reapers in cover on top of a ridge well back in his deployment zone, and stuck the rest of his army behind that ridge.
I went first, moving the Razorbacks to the right, over a bridge, at top speed, firing smoke launchers as they went. My Speeders zoomed forward 24", as they didn’t have any targets in range. Everything else stayed put and fired, concentrating on one target at a time, I tactic I used throughout the game, usually to good effect. At the end of my turn, the closer unit of Dark Reapers and their Farseer were gone, shot up by my big guns. On Mike’s turn, he zipped the Fire Prism out from behind the ridge, nuked my Vindicator, then used his crystal targeting matrix to zip back behind cover. His other Dark Reapers took down two of my Speeders. His Scorpions moved up, and everything else stayed put.
On Turn 2, my Razorbacks and the Terminators continued right, the accompanying Tactical Squad on foot pausing to fire its missile launcher. The Speeders continued forward; the ones near the front were in range but fired with no effect. As before, I concentrated all my remaining firepower, obliterating the Striking Scorpions, who had been heading to intercept my Razors. Good thing I killed them, because Mike admitted afterward that they were tooled up to destroy tanks. For his part, Mike shot down another Speeder.
On Turn 3, my Razors rolled forward another 6", Termies and the accompanying Tac Squad moving through difficult terrain. I was running out of targets within 48", so one of the Tac squads in my deployment zone moved up. The three remaining Speeders finally got in range of a worthy target and pasted Mike’s Fire Prism. The rest of my shooting was less than impressive: I rolled “1’s” for six consecutive heavy weapons. Mike began moving his Warp Spiders and Howling Banshees forward to deal with my Razors.
Throughout the game, I had been taking the occasional potshot, when the opportunity presented itself, at the squad of Dark Reapers on the ridge. On Turn 4, my Speeders fried more of them and they fell back; as only the Exarch was left, their show was effectively over. The rest of my firing went at the Banshees (killing 6 out of 9 of them) and the Warp Spiders, whom I assaulted with Jirbu Ghosh, her Command Squad, and a Tactical Squad dismounting from their Razorback. In total, five Spiders fell, with no wounds suffered by the Tigers. The Spiders fell back and the Tigers consolidated back into their transports (we were using the “old” Assault rules). On Mike’s turn, the Wraithlord’s scatter laser immobilized a Speeder, the Warp Spiders popped open Jirbu Ghosh’s Razorback, and they and the Banshees assaulted my Leader and her guards.
On Turn 5, my Dreadnought and Predator moved up the field and my remaining Speeders took some potshots at the Wraithlord. The Terminators moved up to reinforce Jirbu Ghosh and the Tac Squad that had charged before got out and charged again, to no effect. On his turn, Mike had a few scary moments for me. The remaining Farseer used his Singing Spear to knock the multi-melta off another Speeder. The Warp Spiders hopped out of hand-to-hand combat and shot up a Razorback, immobilizing it, then went back into close combat. The Spiders and Banshees cut down Jirbu Ghosh and forced the Command Squad to fall back.
The mop-up continued on Turn 6, with the Terminators, the remainder of the Command Squad, and the two accompanying Tactical units (originally mounted in Razorbacks) wiping out the Spiders and Banshees, and my firepower units dropped two wounds off the Wraithlord—close, but no banana. It was, however, more than enough to win the game. At the end, I had three quarters and one (Mike’s) was contested.
Outcome: Fighting Tigers win. The key factor was that I was able to exploit Mike’s lack of mobility and long-range firepower. I kept my vulnerable infantry units far away or hidden from his Reaper rockets, allowing only tanks (which couldn’t be hurt easily—if at all) and Speeders (of which I had plenty) to get in their sights. Once I took out his Fire Prism, he lost a lot of mobility (save for his Warp Spiders) and long-range firepower (everything else had a 36" range at best). Basically, I stayed out of his reach (as much as possible) and concentrated my fire (as much as possible) on one unit at a time. It’s a rare victory when Marines are able to outshoot Eldar, but I pulled it off.
As the Fighting Tigers approached the heavily-guarded rebel position, the air before them shimmered. Dozens of metal warriors materialized out of nowhere, accompanied by legless automatons who floated in the air, their torsos fused to metal anti-grav discs. The Tigers raised their weapons, but one of the mechanical monsters raised its hand palm-outward, then pointed to the rebel position. As one, the robots turned their inhuman gaze north, where the enemy’s tanks waited.
Tanadar Vinod leaned closer to Kshatriya Jirbu Ghosh, commander of the Fighting Tiger detachment. “Who are they?” he asked. “What are they?”
“I do not know,” she replied. “But it seems they wish to aid us.”
I had time for a second game, so I teamed up with my pal Pat and his Necrons against Peter and Louis’ Imperial Guard. I had played Peter’s Speed Freeks before at a Rogue Trader Tournament and was eager to take on his Armored Company. Louis was new to 40K but already had a nice Death Korps of Krieg army. Louis and I each took 1000 points, Peter and Pat each took 1083 (no, I don’t recall why the odd amount). Seeing as how it was Louis’ third game, we played “Cleanse” and the IG won the roll to pick deployment zone. Being no dummies, they grabbed all the cover, leaving Pat and I standing out in the open.
Between them, Peter and Louis had a LOT of tanks (including four Leman Russes, a Griffon, and a Thunderer), about four or five squads of Guardsmen, and a Rhino stocked with a Deathwatch Kill Team. Pat had a Destroyer Lord, 20 Warriors in two squads, five Immortals, five Destroyers, and two Heavy Destroyers.
I cut down my 1750 list to:
Normally I play with more Troops, but I given the opponent and the board, I knew that dismounted Space Marines would be ineffective at best or easy kills at worst.
What happened? Pat and I quickly decided that even though both of our armies were geared for shooting, we needed to close with the Guard as soon as possible. But first, we deployed one squad of Necron Warriors well back in our deployment zone (to hold our quarter), then positioned the other Warrior squad and the Immortals to trundle into the adjacent deployment zone to hold that one. Everything else we put up at the very edge of our table quarter, as close to the Guard as we could.
Peter and Louis went first, sending most of their considerable firepower at my tanks. Though they managed to knock out the turret and a sponson on my Predator Annihilator, they weren’t able to so much as scratch the paint on my Razorbacks, despite two hits by battle cannons on “Maneater VI.”
On our turn, I moved the Pred up 6" and fired (to no effect), Pat moved a squad of Warriors and the Immortals into the neighboring deployment zone (and into cover). Everything else we drove full speed ahead: my Speeders were out of range, my tanks fired their smoke launchers, but Pat’s Necron Destroyers destroyed a Chimera and killed five Guardsmen inside.
On Turn 2, the Guard barrage continued, with much better results. Peter’s Leman Russes destroyed my Predator, shook “Maneater VI,” blew up a Land Speeder (ouch), and took down two Necron Destroyers. His Griffon also shook “Maneater IV,” Jirbu Ghosh’s ride. As for Louis, a missile launcher from one of his squads took out another of my Speeders (double ouch). Fortunately for us, we didn’t lose any transports (the real threat to the Guardsmen) and one of Pat’s Destroyers made his We’ll Be Back roll, thanks to the Destroyer Lord’s Resurrection Orb—don’t leave the stasis tomb without it!
On our turn, we continued to roll forward, “Maneater V” slowing to 6" to fire off its twin-linked lascannon, which shook the Thunderer (whew!). One of Pat’s Necron Destroyers shook a Leman Russ, meaning one less battle cannon blast to eat in Turn 3.
Peter and Louis’ next turn was their last real chance to knock us out before our guys got to their lines. Peter started the show with his Leman Russes, one of them knocking out the plasma guns/lascannon combo on “Maneater IV” and another Russ shaking “Maneater VI” again. A plasma gun from one of Louis’ infantry squads took out the last Speeder (triple ouch—I had been counting on their multi-meltas). A missile launcher took down a Necron Heavy Destroyer.
But none of that really mattered. Pat and I were ready to unload the whoop-ass. We did the same move as the last turn, with “Maneater V” rolling 6" while everything else went a full 12", with my command group and one Tactical Squad dismounting right in front of some Guardsmen. Jirbu Ghosh and crew used their bolt pistols and flamers to kill four Guardsmen. My Razor got lucky on a glancing hit and took out the Thunderer. The Necron Destroyers shook and blew the battle cannon off one Leman Russ, and a Heavy Destroyer blew the battle cannon off another. In the Assault Phase, Jirbu Ghosh and the Command Squad attacked and killed Louis’ command unit, and my Tactical Squad mauled and chased off another infantry unit. Pat’s Necron Destroyers (and Lord) went after another infantry squad.
By Turn 4, it was apparent who was going to win this little dust-em-up. One of Peter’s Leman Russes blew up “Maneater VI,” but as the Razorback had no guns and had already delivered my Command Squad right into the IG lines, I wasn’t too pressed. His Griffon took off the lascannons on “Maneater V,” but it was too little, too late. The Deathwatch Marines (remember them?) finally got into the act, assaulting the Necron Destroyer Lord and putting a few dents in him. Hand-to-hand fighting continued, with the Tigers and Necrons grinding down the Guard.
Above and below: Tigers and Necrons mop up surviving Guardsmen in brutal hand-to-hand fighting
Peter had to leave, so he and Louis conceded and we quickly fought one more round just to see what happened: more of the same slow grind in assault, as the outnumbered Tigers wore down more Guardsmen (and their Commissars). Meanwhile, the dogfaces couldn’t hurt the ponderous Necrons.
At the beginning of the game, I had worried about the Guard using their vastly superior range to blast the Warriors and Immortals out of our deployment zone and the one next to it, but our assault force occupied all of Peter and Louis’ attention. At the end of the game, the “Unlikely Alliance” held two table quarters and the other two were contested.
Outcome: Fighting Tigers and Necrons win.
“Don’t Rush Me?”
Given the popularity of assault-oriented Marines like Space Wolves, Blood Angels, and Black Templars, I'll have plenty of other opportunities to put the “Don’t Rush Me” list through its paces. I had a great time and can’t wait for the next Open Day at the Battle Bunker!
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© Copyright Kenton
Kilgore, January 2003
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