After my Round 1 loss, I successfully fought back up into the "Gold" / Championship bracket for the BFS. I scored well on sports and appearance, and earned nearly all possible quarters/objectives/vp in rounds 2-4, so I knew I had a "shot" at Best Overall. Best Overall was determined at BFS based purely upon the first 5 rounds, after which players were eliminated and Ren Man / Overall scoring ceased. So, I had to win my first round in the Gold Bracket.
My opponent was to be Jorge Ruiz, a fairly successful BA player from the NE region, and a NOVA Invitational attendee.
Let me refresh on my list:
Company Command Squad w/ Straken, 2 Meltas, Reg Standard, Med Kit, 2 Bodyguard, Astro
Dozer Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer
5 x Vets w/ 3 Melta, Shotguns, Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer
3 x Vendetta
Jorge was running the following:
Reclusiarch with I forget what
Sanguinary Priest w/ Power Weapon
5 x TH/SS Terminators
Death Company x 7 w/ Power Fist, Power Weapon, Rhino
9 Assault Marines w/ Meltagun, Power Fist or Weapon (I don't know), Rhino
5 Assault Marines w/ Meltagun, Twin-Linked Ass Can Razorback
5 Assault Marines w/ Meltagun, Twin-Linked Ass Can Razorback
2 x Speeders w/ MM/HF
2 x Autolas Predators
This is actually more of a nightmare style list for me than I really want to deal with, for the simple reason that if he can get his Death Company, Assault Squad w/ Priest, and Mephiston across the board at me ... they in addition to an "I'll probably cross just fine" Mephiston were going to ruin my day, especially in the mission. I have a lot of meltaguns, and Straken can handle A squad/threat just fine, but when you hit me with 5 deep striking th/ss terminators *and* Mephiston *and* death company w/ a reclusiarch *and* a full assault squad ... well, things get hairy in a big damned hurry. Alex Fennell used this very fact against me last year at the BFS to nearly take me down in the Semi-Finals.
SOOOOO ... onto the game. Dawn of War / Kill Points, and I forget who won the roll but I went first.
Al'Rahem and Marbo reserved b/c they were required to
Straken and his 5 Chimera Vet guard rolled on Turn 1 on the left side of the board. The 3 Vendettas "fast moved" on, relying on cover saves and dawn of war to stay safe.
Jorge banked perhaps on Al'Rahem not arriving on Turn 2, so he rolled onto the board with everything but his Speeders (simple reserved) and his Terminators (deep striking). He put one rhino (assault marines) and one razorback (assault marines) in front of a 2 wide / 3 deep choo choo cover train, doing his best to place the middle LOS blocking terrain (a bastion in this case) in between my Chimeras/Vendettas and him. He put his Autolas predators in the back, with the 2nd razorback and the death company rhino in the middle. Hmm, I'd better make a Vassal image here ...
So the problem for Jorge here is Al'Rahem arrived on the Top of 2. My 2 left-most Vendettas skiffed upfield some to get open sideshots, my central Vendetta skiffed right some, my Chimeras adjusted a little, and Al'Rahem came on in the bottom right corner, with open Multilaser shots on the side of his back Rhino (Death Company) and back right (from my perspective) Pred.
9 Multilaser shots can be surprisingly reliable, and they were so here, getting just open shots on the back pred and blowing a Lascannon off, and on the Death Company Rhino. I shot the DC Rhino first with them, and wrecked it, spilling the DC out so that they were closer to Al'Rahem than to my core ... trouble for the DC in this sense. I also immobilized the lead right Assault Marine rhino (9-man + Priest) and Vendetta fire wrecked the back left (from my perspective) Predator.
This left him with a lascannon down on one pred, two assault cannon razorbacks alive and well, an immobilized rhino, a dead death company rhino, and a dead pred. Mephiston is there in the back.
In Jorge's Bottom 2 he decided he could / would try to get 6 kill points by balls to the wall'ing it at Al'Rahem and company. Mephiston wing and ran through the ruins and avoided dangerous terrain successfully. The Death Company walked and ran straight at Al in the bottom right corner. The Assault Marines got out and joined in, also running across midfield toward Al.
One of two speeders arrived, as did the Terminators. He plopped the Terminators down between Al and the Chimera core, hoping to help further box him in. The speeder came on my far right, his far left edge, and knocked out one of Al's infantry chimeras with a solid long range multi-melta shot.
His Assault Cannon razorbacks moved up to the middle, and shot along with the preds for a net damage result of blowing a lascannon off my middle Vendetta, which I was naturally quite alright with.
On Top 3, I huddled further back in the corner with Al'Rahem and prepped to fire Multilasers off at more kill points (like the newly arrived speeder), and kept the guardsmen who were knocked out of Chimera in a position along the edge right side back, to further kite the Death Company out of material position (other than chasing Al and company).
Multilaser fire succeeded in immobilizing the newly arrived Speeder where it would do no more harm, and Vendetta fire succeeded in knocking out the other Predator.
Bottom 3 Jorge perils'ed Mephiston on boxcars, and walked him upfield a little more. His Death Company, Assault Marines, and Terminators further trudged toward Al, but my shuffle back had kept me at least another turn out of any kind of charge range, and everything ran rather slowly. His assault cannon razorbacks both sped up right into my face and popped smoke, hoping to get out and cause trouble in bottom 4.
His 2nd speeder arrived on Bottom 3 also, but missed with its Multi-Melta at its target Vendetta.
Top 4 I adjusted Straken and the Veteran core to unload a bunch of meltas on the newly arrived Razorbacks, shuffled Al back just a tiny bit further, and aimed my "only 2 left" Vendetta lascannons at Mephiston, who was stuck in the open. This Vendetta earned its worth well above and beyond the call, and plinked both Lascannons successfully into the exposed Mephiston, dropping him to 2 wounds left. The other 2 were too far away from that side of the board to shoot at him, so took aim at his Land Speeder and Assault Cannon Razorbacks, and succeeded in doing absolutely nothing (cover does work sometimes). Between multilasers, heavy flamers, meltaguns, and the like, I de-meched one of his assault squads and blew the assault cannon off his other razoback. My Al multilasers had little worth shooting at, so they fired at the immobilized speeder and immobilized assault marine rhino for kill points, but only blew the heavy flamer off the immobilized speeder.
Bottom 4 the Assault Marines, Terminators, and Death Company continued to trudge toward me, and Mephiston ... well, he boxcar perils'ed again, reducing himself to 1 wound and winding up sorta kinda still in the open, instead of flying and fleeting in to mess up Al'Rahem and co. At this point by shuffling into the corner as much as possible I had Al'Rahem in his Chimera, a guard squad on foot, and a guard squad in a Chimera all slightly out of Terminator / Assault Marine / Death Company charge ranges, and Top of 5 coming up with a big kill point lead.
His assault marines in the middle, the ones who were previously de-meched walked up to a Veteran chimera next to Straken's Chimera and whiffed. They charged it with Krak grenades and immobilized it. Meanwhile, the other 5 got out of their weaponless razorback and shot at the 2-lascannons-left Vendetta, but only succeeded in taking off a 2nd lascannon. That Vendetta now had weathered a meltagun, a couple of rounds of predator/assault cannon fire, and had done 2 wounds to Mephiston, while only losing 2 lascannons.
His Speeder that I whiffed on zoomed fast to center to contest the central objective, hoping to force the game to secondaries and tertiaries if the game ended on 5, as he knew by now he was either going to lose or barely tie kill points.
Top 5 came and I lined up all of my spare meltaguns not holding objectives on his 10 assault marines in center, and the weaponless razorback, to ensure I had the kill point situation under wraps under the presumption he would nail Al'Rahem finally on Bottom 5. I raced one of my back left vet squads across the board with a 12" chimera move, flip/pivot, disembark and run to grab his side's top left objective. I hopped the other back left Vet squad out to hold my back left objective, and put their Chimera to use firing at whatever popped its head up. I skimmed my two left most Vendettas further around the corner of the bastion to shoot at the semi-hidden flat out moved speeder. Straken's Chimera tank shocked over the middle assault marines to contest the central objective, and Straken got out to shoot meltas at the same fast moving speeder. In the process he tried to stop the tank shock with his sarge, which had a power fist, and he went splat (Rolled a 3 on the pen roll).
I had 3 unused squads of Vets in the middle, and Marbo (who arrived on Turn 1 and had been hanging out with the Vet core b/c he didn't want to be an easy kp, and had no real good targets). They bustled over and blew up the weaponless razorback and the 5 assault marines who'd gotten out of it to shoot my near-weaponless Vendetta.
Speaking of which, Al'Rahem ... knowing his fate one way or another ... got out of his Chimera nad moved to within 12" of the stumbling Mephiston ... he ordered Fire On My Target on himself, and did 2 melta and 1 plasma wound to Mephiston, who went to ground with his last wound and promptly made all 6 3+ saves. Mr. Lone-lascannon Champion Vendetta meanwhile had lined up a single shot across no cover with his final lascannon at Mephiston in case Al missed, and sniped Mephiston away. Good job, Crackerjack.
I rapid fired my 2 al'rahem guard squads into the Terminators, successfully killing one (hooray), and used the surviving basic guard squad chimera to fast move onto and contest the objective in Al's corner just in case (though by now I had 2 objectives controlled, and only a speeder and 4 assault marines in the way of the 3rd at mid field).
Speaking of which, my third Vet Squad (whose Chimera had been immobilized by the middle assault marines) got out and shot down all but 1 of the middle assault marines, and would charge and kill the last thereafter. Straken and the Vendettas combined in some capacity (I don't know which actually had the kill shot) to dust off the flat outed speeder at middle, and the vets consolidated off killing the last assault marine in middle to hold the middle objective. I now had vets on the top left objective, vets on the bottom left objective, and vets protected by Straken on the middle objective. I was up on Kill Points, and Jorge had an immobilized weaponless speeder, 4 terminators, 5 or so death company, and 7 or 8 assault marines (scattered multilaser fire by this point had tweaked a few of these out, as softer targets ceased to be).
The game wound up going to 7, but it was just gunning things down and mopping up as part of scoring as much as I could for Ren Man consideration there at the very end.
Jorge was one of the nicest and most fun opponents I faced all weekend, and his army was a bad match for me in seriuosly ugly fashion if he could get across the board. Unfortunately he didn't pop all his smoke in anticipation of Al'Rahem's arrival on Top 2, and that was what spun the game out of reach in the end ... with one of his hammers struggling the wrong way across the board, it forced him to support them in chasing after Al, and a pair of assault squads in razorbacks weren't enough to hold off and deal with a Straken-supported veteran core.
I think also that a lot of his list depends on perhaps obsessive focus fire on the Predators distracting people, and I did my best to resist that ... I took shots where I could, but only after de-meching his two key rhinos. Jorge mentioned maybe using Ravens or Raiders to get his Death Company across the board more reliably, but IMO the Rhino works just fine ... just need to be a little more careful with how he presents it as a target. Also, this is another game (I've played a lot of them) where the value of having a bunch of "trash" Multilasers can't be overrated ... they can and will bang up a rhino or two here and there over the course of each turn, and that's more than enough in most cases to break up a person's game plan and get him ad-libbing.
I think a lot of people might look at Jorge's list and go DEATH COMPANY WHAT?! The truth here guys is they are a pretty affordable hammer unit, and their uncontrollability becomes less of an issue when you can chuck 'em at something in a rhino while ALSO chucking Mephiston, 5 Terminators, and a proper Assault Squad at that same enemy core ... it's one thing to kite and deal with 7 death company and a reclusiarch. It's another altogether to deal with those AND terminators AND assault marines AND Mephiston all at the same time ... suddenly 20 meltaguns doesn't feel like enough. When you put them in the hands of someone like Ruiz or Fennell or others who can typically get 'em all across the board and into you, you really wind up in a trickier situation than the mathhammer would suggest before you know it.
Since this was a pretty long report, I'll hold off on the other two for subsequent articles, as I must be away for the evening!