King of the Hill II
King of the Hill Part Deux: Battle #3 by Patrick Eibel and Kenton Kilgore
In this campaign (a follow-up to the one we did last year), we’re test-driving some of the more recent codices to see how they fare against each other. Last time out, the
Necrons harshed some Craftworld Eldar; let’s see what happens when (proxied) Orks and Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) collide.
Dvergar Steeljacks (2000 points) by Kenton Kilgore
Long-time gamers will remember the Squats from the First and Second Editions of 40K (Pat had an army of them, btw). I liked them so much, I built an army of my own several years ago, themed around the Pittsburgh Steelers (American) football team. As “Space Dwarves” don’t currently appear in the game, I use the Ork codex. Here’s what I’m bringing to the party.
I have reconfigured this army from when I first built it. I used to have two mobz of Nobz, which are allowed Battlewagons as transports, but I ditched them (too expensive, not enough bodies) and kept their rides, which requires me to use two detachments under a Combined Arms force (I could just go Unbound, but I’m old-school and stuck in my ways).
So, yeah, nothing fancy here, just lots of proxied Boyz in armored personnel carriers, who rush up, jump out, and whale on the other guys. ‘Eavy armor is an expensive necessity: I’m limited to mobz of 20, I’ll have to wade through Overwatch fire, and open-topped vehicles (even with Front Armor Value 14) can go BOOM with folks aboard.
You can’t beat the Warboss for Assault Phase brutality, so I brought two. Reinforced rams on the ‘Wagons and power klaws on all the characters are how I compensate for Orks’ paucity of tank-punching ability. I had some points left over, so Lootas should deal with small infantry units and light vehicles.
The Fighting 501st Armored Division (2,000 points) by Patrick Eibel
I knew that Kenton’s list would involve lots of AV 14 Battlewagons, so I thought the best way to respond was to bring a bunch of heavy tanks as well. The big choice for me was picking between the “Steel Host” formation presented in the Red Waaaaugh campaign supplement, or the Emperor’s Fist Armored Company formation presented in the recent Mont’ka campaign supplement. Both formations bring a lot of Leman Russ tanks and a Tank Commander, with the difference being the Host requires a Hydra, and the AC requires an Enginseer.
I decided to go with the Armored Company because of the added benefit of making the tanks Ballistic Skill 4 if near the Tank Commander (and I managed to print out a pdf of the Formation off the Internet). I would use a standard CAD formation as my primary detachment, so that my squishy Troops would at least be able to control objectives. Here is what I brought:
“Emperor’s Fist” Armored Company:
To be perfectly honest, I like the idea of this army (and the Guard in general) better than how they actually perform. I am hoping that the tanks can unleash some serious firepower, the Vets can slow down the choppy guys, and the Ogryns can hold their own in a fight. I have not used this army since Counter Offensive two or three years ago, so I hope I can just remember what stuff does.
Setting Up by Kenton Kilgore
We played at Pat’s house, on a 4' x 6' table with quite a bit of open space, some desert hills, and some buildings around the periphery. As Pat had said in his introduction to the campaign, we would be doing the Maelstrom missions, and this time out, we rolled and came up with Spoils of War, using the standard Dawn of War deployment.
We placed our objectives and remembered that they were Mysterious (we’re old guys, so sometimes we forget). Rolling on the table, we found that Objectives 1 and 2 were Sabotaged (always amusing), number 3 was Nothing of Note; Objective 4 was a Grav-Wave Generators (-2" for units attempting to charge enemy on the objective); Objective 5 was a Scatterfield (the controlling unit gets +1 to its cover save), and 6 was a Targeting Relay (re-roll “1’s” when shooting).
Dicing for my Warlord Trait, I came up with Like a Thunderbolt, which would allow the Black Warspar and units within 12" of him to re-roll run or charge dice rolls (of course, my guy and his unit can’t run, anyway, as he has mega-armor. Checking Codex: We Sounded So Much Cooler When We Were Called “Imperial Guard,” Pat got Draconian Disciplinarian, which is a decent name for a metal band, and would allow units within 12" of the Commissar Lord to ignore morale tests for 25% casualties.
The dice decided that I would set up and go first, but that there would be no Night Fighting. One of the many things that I love about this army is its simplicity: I started the Warbosses and Boyz in the ‘Wagons, lined the ‘Wagons side by side, and put the Lootas in cover on Objective #6, in my deployment zone. Total time to deploy: approximately 1 minute and 12 seconds.
Directly across from my tanks, Pat lined up a murderer’s row of the two Demolishers, the Vanquisher, the Leman Russ, and the Punisher. Flanking them was the Ogryn unit and the Enginseer + Servitors. On Pat’s left side, he had two Chimeras (loaded with troops), the Devil Dog, and a Hellhound. His Vendetta, of course, started off the board.
Pat failed to Seize the Initiative, and the game began.
Turn 1 by Kenton Kilgore
I advanced my Crawlers/Battlewagons at full speed (and Flat Out) towards Pat’s lines, taking Objective 5 and securing a Victory Point. The Marauders/Lootas fired on the Ogryns, dropping two, but the other two made their Morale check.
On Pat’s turn, the transports rumbled forward, taking Objective 3 (and a Victory Point) while the main battle tanks opened fire. The Demolishers opened up on Crawler #86, causing it to explode, killing four passengers. The same blast caught Crawler #43, immobilizing it. Other fire from the tanks shook the crew of Crawler #7 (in which my Warlord was riding) and took another Hull Point off #43.
The Dvergar Regulars/Boyz from Crawlers #43 and #86 advanced on Pat’s position. Crawler #36 rammed the Devil Dog, glancing it. Crawler #92 rammed the Hellhound, and for a brief moment, I was inwardly chortling at the “Weapon Destroyed” result I got, until the die determined that it was the heavy bolter, not the Burny Death Cannon of Flaming Doom, that was taken out.
The Black Warspar and his retinue got out of Crawler #7. Twirling a yellow banner, the Warlord issued his fearsome battlecry/Waaagh! (“Here we go, Steeljacks, here we go!”), and his foot soldiers charged. The Warspar and his Regulars wrecked the Leman Russ; the leader of Squad 2 Black shook a Demolisher with his heavy electro-combat weapon; and the leader of Squad 3 Black stunned the crew of the other Demolisher, as well as took two Hull Points off it.
The Vendetta did not come on at the start of Pat’s turn, so he contented himself with advancing his forces. Commissar Lord Maul and his accompanying Veterans dismounted from their Chimera, threatening the Warspar and his underlings.
from tanks took down the leader and five Regulars from Steel Trooper Squad 3
Black. The shaken Demolisher
nevertheless moved and fired its lascannon into Crawler #7, stunning its
crew. The Enginseer restored a Hull
Point on the Demolisher that had lost two, and the Devil Dog fired its melta
weapon point-blank at Crawler #92, exploding it and killing five troopers of
Gold Squad 1.
Pat wasn’t done yet. Veterans getting out of the other Chimera fired their melta guns on Crawler #36, stripping off a Hull Point. The Vets attending Commissar Lord Maul fired on the Black Warspar’s group, killing three, and then fire from both Chimeras and the Hellhound dropped another 12.
The Ogryns charged Squad 3 Black, and in the melee, the Bonehead was slain, as was one Regular. The remaining Ogryn lost his nerve and attempted to run, but the others caught him and cut him down.
Commissar Lord Maul challenged the Black Warspar, while their minions fought. Quick as he was, Maul was unable to penetrate the Dvergar lord’s mechanized armor, and he was smashed under the Space Dwarf’s hammer. The Veterans fell back.
Steel Troopers Squad 2 Gold came out of Crawler #36 to deal with the Veterans who had shot at their transport, while the other Dvergar infantry converged on targets. The Lootas blasted five Veterans who had just backed away from the smashy deathpit that was the Black Warspar and his friends.
Squad Black 3 assaulted the Enginseer and his Servitors, easily butchering them. While the Nob of Squad 2 Black charged the Demolisher (to no avail), the rest of the squad went after the Vanquisher, wrecking it.
Elsewhere, the Black Warspar charged the Hellhound, exploding it and killing three members of Gold Squad 1 nearby, who had charged and wrecked the Devil Dog. Gold Squad 2 assaulted the Veterans, losing two to Overwatch fire and losing one of their own in the scrap, but killing all the Guardsmen.
At the end of my turn, Objective 2 exploded, killing four Steel Troopers of Squad 2 Black. Rather than find it irritating, I thought it was funny. There’s something very wrong with me that the therapy hasn’t fixed….
The Vendetta came on at the start of Pat’s go, targeting the Black Warspar, who was standing all by his lonesome near the flaming wreckage of the Hellhound. Pat peeled back his surviving tanks to fire. This was going to hurt.
The Punisher lived up to its name, killing three members of Black Squad 3. The two Demolishers dropped six of Black 2, but would have killed more had one tank not missed. The Vendetta, the command Veterans, and the Chimera opened up on the Black Warspar, but he survived, only taking one Wound from a lascannon.
The heavy flamer on the other Chimera engulfed Gold 2, killing the squad leader and six Regulars. The survivors chickened out and fell back.
Gold 2 regrouped, embarking on Crawler #36. Surprised at my luck, I had the Black Warspar move within 2" of Gold 1 so as to join them, protecting him from further enemy fire.
The Marauders/Lootas gunned down the rest of the Veterans that had accompanied CL Maul, while Black 3 ran for (but didn’t make it to) the oncoming Crawler #7 that was en route to pick them up.
The Squad Leader/Nob from Black 2 assaulted the Demolisher, his power klaw wrecking it. The Black and Gold Warspars and Gold 1 assaulted a nearby Chimera, wrecking it, as well. Objective #2 erupted again, killing one poor fellow from Black 2.
Pat’s Vendetta swooped in on Crawler #7, its lascannons exploding the transport. The surviving Demolisher blew up three from Black 2, while the Punisher killed the last six from Black 3. The other Chimera shot dead two from Gold 1.
Aware that time was running out, I maneuvered my forces to claim Tactical Objectives (as I had been doing all along): in this turn, I took Objectives 1 and 5. The Marauders/Lootas shot the last Demolisher in the rear, wrecking it. The Warspars and their group charged the remaining Chimera, causing it to explode and kill three Regulars.
Pat was down to the Vendetta—who shot the Loota’s building, taking off 2 Hull Points but not destroying it—and the Punisher—who killed the last members of Black 2. After that, he conceded.
Dvergar Steeljacks: 11 Victory Points (9 for Tactical Objectives + Slay the Warlord + Linebreaker)
Fighting 501st Armored Division: 4 Victory Points (1 for Tactical Objectives + First Blood + Linebreaker)
Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
Well, I guess that result is to be expected when you make mistakes in army selection, deployment, and play of game. In keeping with the football analogy, you just can’t keep turning the ball over and expect to win.
The army selection mistake was bringing the Ogryns. They are far too expensive and had no chance standing up to a superior assault force. I would have been better off dropping the cute wargear from the Commissar, losing the Ogryns and Vendetta, and finding a few more points to bring an allied Imperial Knight Crusader (I use an AT-AT model I converted to have guns). If a bunch of Leman Russ tanks give an Ork player pause, the Imperial Knight would really draw their attention.
Veterans face off against the Black Warspar, a proxied Warboss using a Forge Father Iron Ancestor model from Mantic Games
(and yes, I really need to finish painting him)
The deployment error was pretty obvious – I was playing a “sit-back-and-shoot army,” he was playing a “get-in-your-face-and-mambo” army. Why, oh why, would I deploy within two turns of movement when I had superior range? Even more foolish is why did I move Hellhounds and Chimerae forward towards his choppy guys?
Finally, there were a bunch of rules that I just simply forgot to use. While the Tank Commander orders would probably not have made that much of a difference, forgetting to roll two dice and taking the highest for Ordnance weapon armor penetration would probably have been useful.
After two straight beatdowns, I need to focus my efforts on the last game.
Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore
I am pleasantly—and extremely—surprised at how well it all went, particularly given Pat’s tank-heavy army list. As Ork players know, greenskins (even proxied ones) struggle to deal with tanks, and there were several—the Demolishers and the Punisher—whose rear armor (AV 11) was too tough for my scrubs to get lucky against. It was up to my Nobz with power klaws to deal with them, and that took some time.
As I alluded to earlier, I’ve played different iterations of this army, with Nobz and Meganobz and Painboyz and such, and even when they won (which wasn’t often), they didn’t fare that well. This simpler army list was much more effective. The Steelers have the “Three B’s”—Ben, Brown, and Bell—to rack up points, and the Steeljacks also have “Three B’s”—‘Bosses, Boyz, and Battlewagons—to do the same.
While the current Ork codex is not as good as I thought it was upon first reading, I think it's still solid and holds up well (it's like, what? A year and a half old?).
Both of us made a number of rule errors in the game, none of them so egregious as to affect the outcome of the game, but we do need a refresher before the next one. See you then!
Posted February 2016