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Rogue Trader Tournament, 11/17/01
Introduction and Army List <> Battle Summaries
Rogue Trader Tournament,
11/17/01: Battle Summaries
About a third of the store was taken up with gaming tables: nothing fancy, just your typical folding banquet tables laid end-to-end, covered in fabric and adorned with some well-done terrain pieces. Spaces on the tables were 60" across and somewhere around 50" wide, depending on where the organizers had marked off edges. Not bad. Heck, I’ve played 40K on a sidewalk with soda cans as terrain; anything better than that is fine with me.
The RTT had space for 30, and I believe close to that number showed up. There were, to be expected, lots of Marine armies: Ultramarines, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and a good number of Do-It-Yourself “vanilla” Marines like my Fighting Tigers. Also present were a good smattering of Eldar (including Ken Lacy’s Exodites), Imperial Guard, Chaos Marines (especially Khorne), Dark Eldar, Orks, Tyranids, even a Necron army. No Tau or Sisters of Battle, as I recall.
The RTT was run in “Swiss style,” with opponents determined randomly for the first game and then winners playing winners for succeeding games—for more details about that, see Paul Hill’s excellent article on running a tournament. Players were paired up between games, told which tables to go to, and informed of the mission to be run once everyone had arrived at their table. Each game had a two-hour time limit.
My opponent, Dave Brown, had a standard sort of Death Twinkie army: Archon and Incubi on a Raider, Mandrakes, a Wych squad on a Raider, Warp Beasts, two Raider squads, Hellions, Scourges, a Ravager, and a Talos. Using my heavy weapons, I downed all the Raiders in my first turn, then began mowing down infantry. The Ravager and the Scourges were the next to die; by Turn 2, I had lost a Land Speeder, two bikers, and one Attack Bike. Meanwhile, the Death Twinkies were dropping like flies.
I had a scary moment when the Hellions and the remains of a Raider squad got into hand-to-hand with my Tactical Squads, but I quickly beat them back. I polished off his Talos (which never reach close combat) and that was it. Time was called at the end of three turns, and it was the Tigers with two table quarters, Dark Eldar with one table quarter, and one contested.
2: More stripey mayhem
All that training on Auros IX has been good for my Tigers. I targeted the Trukks first, limiting Peter’s ability to get his Boyz into hand-to-hand with my Marines. Players sneer at Bikes, but what I like about them is their mobility: I could move forward and fire in the same turn, then move back and still fire in the next. With his transports destroyed, poor Peter’s Orks could do little more than plod through a storm of bolter and heavy bolter fire that whittled them down mercilessly.
My suicidal Veterans engaged his suicidal Boyz and defeated them in close combat, winning me all kinds of bonus points. Near the end, his Warboss and one of his Mega-Armored Nobz reached one of my Tac Squads and started eating them for lunch, but by then it was too late. At the end of a full six turns, it was Tigers 1273, Speed Freeks 939.
My opponent’s skill, a couple of tactical errors, and some bad luck left me with a narrow defeat in this game. John is obviously a veteran gamer and has a solid army: a Daemon Prince, 8 Berzerkers on foot, 16 Berzerkers in 2 Rhinos, 16 Bloodletters, and 2 Dreadnoughts. Normally, I would think this army to be a bit slow, but it was fast enough on a small table.
My first tactical error came during deployment. Typically, in this mission, the first player to deploy plunks down a Heavy Support unit near the center of the board, thus forcing his opponent’s army back at least 18".
In my first battle, the "Cleanse" mission against the Dark Eldar, I had eschewed this approach and deployed my Predator Annihilator along my back table edge. I was in no hurry for the speedy Death Twinkies to zoom in close and use their blasters on my tank. Instead, I relied on the Annihilator’s longer range (48" for lascannons) and it had served me well: the Dark Eldar never got a shot on Tyger Tyger.
I deployed first in this battle against the World Eaters, and I could have put down my tank near the center, thus forcing John’s Khorne-pokes back. But the center of the board had a cratered rocky area that blocked lines of sight. In contrast, there was a tall hill near the back of my deployment zone, and it offered unlimited fire lanes, so I put the Predator there.
In hindsight, this was not a good idea. John, of course, took advantage of this to put his troops as far forward as he could, effectively pinning me into one corner. One movement phase would allow his troops to enter my table quarter. Worse, with the first turn using the Night Fighting rules, my shooting was limited. Despite having a searchlight, the Predator still could not find a target (damn poor dice roll!) and a golden opportunity to blow vast holes in John’s army was wasted. My shooting did not get on track until Turn 2, but by then I was playing catch-up, trying to gun down John’s psychos before they got into hand-to-hand.
A few more errors contributed to my defeat. One of my Tactical Squads defeated a weakened squad of Berzerkers (Squad A) in close combat and consolidated instead of sweeping towards another squad of Berzerkers (Squad B) further back in my deployment zone. This error left the Tac Squad vulnerable to a charge from yet another Zerk squad (Squad C); had the Tigers of Rudra swept toward Squad B, Squad C would never have caught them.
In the ensuing melee between my Tac Squad and Berzerker Squad C, I should have removed my Veteran Sergeant (with his Leadership of 9) so that the surviving Marines would be more likely to break and run, leaving Squad C vulnerable to shooting. For some reason, I disregarded my own axiom of Leaders lead and kept the Vet in there rather than have him “take one for the team.” Naturally, my Morale check (tested against Leadership 9) came up exactly what I needed to stay in close combat—and allow Squad C to polish my squad off. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Finally, some bad dice rolls sealed my fate. In particular, I lost four out of five Bikes in one round of shooting: one went down to a plasma pistol (naturally), but the other three died from bolt pistol fire from Berzerkers. How embarrassing! The only good news was that my surviving Attack Biker failed her Morale check, fell back out of charge range, regrouped at the beginning of my next turn, and took some vengeance with her heavy bolter and twin-linked boltguns.
As time was called, John had two table quarters, I had one, and one was contested.
4: Absolute Khorne-age
My plan, as always, was to unload the Predator and Razorback’s lascannons and the Land Speeders’ multi-meltas on Jon’s transports, making his Khorne-boys walk into a storm of heavy weapon fire. Meanwhile, my Bikes would lead the Rhinos into his deployment zone for massive bonus points.
Being no dummy, Jon hid his Rhinos behind some large hills, leaving only his Land Raider for me to deal with. No problem, I thought. I’ll just pound on the Land Raider with the lascannons while my Speeders vaporize his Dread and shoot his Land Raider at point-blank range from behind, where his weapons couldn’t target them.
At this point, my Communist Orange Tiger Dice ™ completely failed me. The Speeders were unable to so much as scratch the Dread, who proceeded to blast them up with its plasma cannon. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s getting out-shot by Khorne-pokes.
Jon tossed one Rhino full of Berzerkers against my Bikes, which halted the merry column headed for his deployment zone. No problem, I thought again. I’ll just slip my Rhinos past and move my Razorback up so that Jirbu Ghosh and my Veterans can make mincemeat of his Zerks.
Again the dice failed. The counterassault was ineffectual and my Bikes and Vets wound up falling back. Now my column was split, with pursuing Khorne Marines in the middle. Jon summoned his Bloodthirster, who polished off Jirbu Ghosh and the Vets, then ate the Predator for dessert. The Land Raider moved up, the Lord (and attendant Zerks) spilled out, shot up my Rhinos, and hacked down the Tac Marines that spilled out.
One of my squads made it into Jon’s deployment zone, but the Lord and his cronies just went back and dug them out again. The rout was so bad that Jon was pulling units OUT of my deployment zone just to go whoop up on the few Tigers I had left. I conceded after 5 turns. The actual battle was ugly, but playing against Jon was great fun, and I hope to exact cruel vengeance on him soon!
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© Copyright Kenton
Kilgore, November 2001
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