1500 AdMech Vs Vostroyan AM: Stronghold Assault - Last StandThe hazy light of dawn was made filthy by the smoke. The sky was torn apart by tracer rounds and the gray-white contrails of rockets and the eye-searing flashes of laser light. As Goldring looked up, he felt very small. Very small and very exposed--a roach on a bare floor, a mouse on a table.
"Don't worry," Captain Harovich slapped him on the back and yelled over the din of battle. "The air support is on our side!"
A strike fighter had its engine torn out by some kind of surface-to-air missile. It corkscrewed through the air, black smoke trailing behind it, and exploded on a distant ridge. Goldring pictured himself beneath it, looking up...
"Stop imagining your death, Goldring!" The captain drew his antique plasma pistol. "Imagine your victory, instead!"
The captain drew his sword and pointed towards the distant trenches of the enemy, already spitting death their way. "FOR THE EMPEROR! FOR VOSTROYA!"
Goldring didn't remember if he yelled or not. He only remembered himself running. The hard ground was littered with the charred bones of the first wave, so he didn't look down. The skies burned, so he didn't look up. The idea of seeing a bolt round coming for him was too much, so he didn't look forward. He just ran and tried not to trip. He pointed his grenade launcher in the vague direction of the giant shapes hunkering in the trenches and fired, but he didn't bother to see if he hit anything.
Everything around him was suddenly exploding. Bolts of white and green energy raked the small assault force. A man disintegrated right in front of him. A beam of laser light so bright it blinded Goldring through his goggles flashed over head. He hit the dirt and behind him, something huge exploded and kept exploding, each boom setting off a half dozen other booms. The dirt seemed the safest of all places. He hugged his weapon close, unable to move.
Captain Harovich planted a boot in his backside. "Get up! Forward, forward, you useless maggot!" Somewhere along the way Harovich had lost his hat. He looked naked without it, his bald pate shining with every flash of incoming fire.
And so Goldring ran again. A squad to his left bailed out of a burning Chimera, some of them on fire. They hadn't gone five paces before they were blown apart by a volley of bolter fire from the trenches. Ten men--gone in a flash. And here Goldring was--one man. Just one man, barely nineteen years old. He looked around him. It seemed like his whole squad was gone. He seemed alone. But for Harovich behind him, screaming orders he barely heard, he would have run away. What was the point in dying like this? Somebody had made a mistake. Somebody had screwed up!
The air screamed--louder than anything yet, so loud it stole Goldring's breath away. A shadow passed overhead, low--very, very low. Another Avenger, its main cannon roaring. Goldring caught a glimpse--the briefest glimpse--of the fuselage. There, painted in plain block letters, were the words THE DEVIL MARIE.
And suddenly nobody was shooting at him anymore.
But he kept running.
This is the second game of my battle against the rogue techpriests in the Secret of Orthos IV campaign (see it here
). A stronghold assault mission, the Techpriests are holding on by their fingernails (or mechadendrites, if you prefer) and I need to smash their last pockets of resistance. Let's see the lists!Vostroyan Assault ForceVostroyan Stronghold Assault Force-AttackerHQ
Company Commander w/Powersword, Plasma Pistol (Warlord: Grand Strategist)
Company Commander w/Powerfist, Armor of Graf ToschenkoTroops
5 Scions w/Plasma Pistol, 2x Plasma Guns
5 Scions w/Plasma Pistol, 2x MeltagunsElites
Special Weapons Squad w/2x Plasma, 1x Grenade Launcher
Special Weapons Squad w/2x Plasma, 1x Grenade Launcher
Veterans w/3x Plasma Guns
Veterans w/3x MeltagunsFast Attack
2 Armored Sentinels w/Plasma CannonsHeavy Support
Leman Russ Executioner w/Plasma Sponsons
Lascannon Heavy Weapon SquadFlyers
Valkyrie w/Rocket Pods and Door Bolters
Avenger Strike Fighter w/2x Missile LaunchersTransports
Chimera w/Multilaser, Heavy BolterAdMech Garrison w/Allied AstartesMars BattalionHQ
5 Vanguard w/2x Arc Rifles
2x Kastellan Robots w/3x Phosphor BlastersHeavy Support
Onager Dunecrawler w/Neutron Laser
Onager Dunecrawler w/Icarus ArrayStygies PatrolHQ
Techpriest Enginseer w/AutocaduceusTroops
5 RangersFast Attack
2x Syndonian Dragoons w/Taser LancesAstartes Patrol (Iron Hands Successor Chapter)HQ
Captain w/Master-crafted Bolter, ChainswordElites
8 Intercessors w/Bolt RiflesMission, Terrain, and Deployment
This was a Stronghold Assault mission, so my opponent got to choose and arrange the terrain. He sprinkled a few pieces of rubble in my half of the board, and then on his end he built a base featuring a long trench, a building in the NW corner, and behind that (?) he put his bunker. I don't think this was a good plan, but I also didn't talk him out of it. In the NE corner there was a landing pad and another bunker, this one he hadn't paid for and so it wasn't useable (though, after playing this mission, I kinda feel like bunkers should be free in Stronghold Assault missions).
This was the Last Stand mission, which means all I needed to do was kill the three units my opponent deployed first--if they were killed, I would win. For these units, he picked a unit of Vanguard (which he stuck in the bunker), the Stygies Rangers (behind the building) and the Intercessors, which he put in the trench. Later on I asked him why he didn't pick a few characters as his target units (as they have the INFANTRY keyword), and he confessed to not thinking that was allowed. This was my opponent's second strategic error.
For my deployment, I threw the Basilisk and Lascannons in the far SE corner, both flyers in the SW corner, and facing the trench I deployed the two special weapon squads between the Executioner and the Chimera and backed them up with both Armored Sentinels. The melta vets went in the Chimera, the plasma vets and powerfist commander went in the Valkyrie, and both Scion squads would do a Valkyrie drop later. My warlord followed up the special weapon squads and the Chimera.
DeploymentMy center line (blurry, sorry)My artilleryMy air supportHis squishy unitsTurn 1
My opponent got first turn automatically and began bringing in reserves the old fashioned way--by rolling for them. He gets the Robots ('doh!) the Neutron Laser Dunecrawler (double 'doh!), a unit of Vanguard, Cawl, an Enginseer, and both marine support characters. What initially looked like a cakewalk for the men of the Imperial Guard suddenly looked less cake-like. The Neutron Laser nuked my Executioner right off the board with 3 shots, 3 hits, and 12 wounds done. It would have exploded had I not used Command Re-Roll to keep it from blowing up. It didn't much matter, though, since the Robots then jammed themselves into shoot-em-up mode with a stratagem and lit up the Chimera until it (also) exploded. The explosion killed 3 melta vets inside, half of both special weapons squads, injured my warlord, and took two wounds off a Sentinel (I was rolling 6s like crazy). The Intercessors retreated out of the trench (?) and then gunned down the remaining melta Vets.
I burned 1CP to use To The Death on one special weapons squad, and I burned 2CP for Insane Bravery to keep my other SWS around, too.
Top of Turn 1Reinforcements!Ouch! That hurt!
In my half of the turn, I exploited yet another undefended flank to drop both Scions squads along the AdMech western edge--giving them clear shots on the objective Rangers. The Valkyrie zipped forward and dropped its payload of plasma veterans plus the powerfist commander right in the teeth of the enemy trench. The Avenger also came forward to strafe, followed closely by the remaining special weapon squads and the warlord commander.
My shooting was...sub-par. The Basilisk dropped a shell on the distant rangers and killed one guy (just *one*--ugh). The Scions tried to finish off the remaining 4 (that's FOUR) low-toughness, moderate save Rangers and, despite hitting them with 2 plasma pistols, 2 plasma guns, 2 meltaguns, and 4 hotshot lasgun shots, only managed to kill *three* of the bastards. I mean, honestly.
The Avenger tried to use missiles and lascannons to nuke the robots and...completely struck out. Its gatling cannon and stubber did kill two intercessors, though. The lascannons also tried to nuke the robots--I even burned a CP for a command re-roll--and only did 3 damned wounds. The Valkyrie fired everything and the Intercessors and totally choked
. The Armored Sentinels and the Plasma Vets (with their Take Aim order) along with the plasma guns from one SWS (also with Take Aim) all shot at the Intercessors and eventually killed them off. The last SWS fired at the robots, taking 2 wounds off one bot--not enough to kill, and if you don't kill a robot, they enginseers just repair the damned thing, so it doesn't matter one bit.
Bottom of Turn 1My air cover is extensivePlasma Vets Attack!Trying to Weather the StormThe Scions sneak around the flanks!Deployment error: exposed!Turn 2
I had a lackluster first turn, but I did get *almost* 2 out of 3 objective units down. He was going to have to work hard to keep the last few around. For his reserves, he got more vanguard and the Dragoons, but still no Icarus Dunecrawler. The vanguard he brought in behind the building (with all the other vanguard) and a bunch of guys hopped in a bunker. Not a Rad Carbine was shot in anger. The Scions were left to the Dragoons, who sought to double-charge the two squads. I got lucky with a meltagun on overwatch and blew up one Dragoon on its way in, though. The last one wiped out the melta scions, but the damage was done--I still had a free squad kicking around.
The remainder of the AdMech firepower was spent trying to shoot down airplanes. The Robots knocked 5 wounds off the Avenger, but it didn't much care. The Space Marine captain shot a single plasma veteran. Not a good turn for the AdMech--not aggressive enough. Not by half.
Top of Turn 2A Scion is about to be stomped
In my turn, all I need to do is blow up a bunker, and victory is as good as mine. The Scions, though, can't quite get around the corner of the building, so they shoot up the Dragoon and totally miss with everything (and one plasma gunner melts his own face). The Valkyrie throws it into hover and slides over to the northern board edge, giving its weapons clear view of anything that piles out of that bunker. It then falls to the Basilisk and the lascannons. The Bassie does 4 measly wounds to it, the lascannons account for the other 8. As the bunker explodes, it kills a bunch of the vanguard surrounding it, but I don't care--I'm focused on my objective targets. The Valkyrie nukes the objective vanguard with all its weapons. The Avenger, having only 1 Ranger to kill to win the game, hits the ranger with two frag missiles, the Avenger Cannon, and the heavy stubber, wiping him out. The twin lascannons then take 5 wounds off the Neutron Dunecrawler.
That's it. That's game.
Bottom of Turn 2The Avenger strafes the enemyThe coup de grace comes from the skyFinal ScoreVostroyans Win!Post Mortem
This was something of an anticlimax. My opponent made a couple very crucial early game errors--putting the bunker in the wrong spot, choosing the wrong units to be my targets, leaving his right flank wide open--which made my job somewhat easy. It was interesting in that first turn and half only because my dice were so poor. But that's the thing with the AM--the weight of dice will always, eventually even out.
My enemies (Roboknee's orks and Tungsten's AdMech) have a tendency to not
use their troops against me. They're always hiding them or keeping them in reserve and, consequently, they don't do very much. I think this is a consistent tactical error. Yes, if you through your 5 Vanguard in the vanguard, they'll die. But those Rad Carbines might take somebody with them! And if they aren't doing anything anyway...
As far as my army is concerned, the Basilisk performed as I predicted it would--nowhere near worth its points. The Lascannons doubled its offensive output and cost ~30% less to field. Yeah, they're fragile, but my enemies usually have other things to shoot at. The Scions remain clutch performers and will always earn a spot in my lists--being able to get round flanks and strike vulnerable targets is clutch and 100% worth the low price I pay. The Avenger was good, but not quite worth its very high price tag to field. That said, I think the model is awesome and I'll take it whenever I think the mission suits. Lastly, the Valkyrie is an absolute steal and I can't believe I only have to pay that many points for that much utility and firepower. It's a damned crime.
Anyway, it was a fun game. Now, our next matchup will see if the Vostroyans can mop up the tech heretics or if they will live to fight another day. Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!