Road to Glory: Game One

So I get an email one day saying, "We should play the Road to Glory Campaign." I'm like what is the Road to Glory Campaign. I quickly learned it was in the back of the 5th Edition rule book which Malcolm and I had both recently acquired. Further more Malcolm had decided the games would be at Daren's store and I would be writing up the battle reports.

This completely ignores that I'm actually fairly busy at work and I was studying for the Level 1 CFA® exam again, I eventually managed to pass all three exams. Playing the games doesn't take much time, but typing up the battle reports, painting more models, and building towards another tournament army does take time. The next tournament army should be next year, but in between then and now is the 2008 West Coast Mayhem, which Malcolm new tournament keener has us also entering. These Road to Glory games will be both to learn the new rules and for online bragging rights and preparation for West Coast Mayhem.

I went to last year's West Coast Mayhem and both Malcolm and I went to 2008 Vancouver Astronomi-con. Basically I'm tired of losing, I'm also tired of being badly outnumbered, outgunned, basically playing all Nurgle. For this campaign and West Coast Mayhem I will be playing all Nurgle. It won't be a greatest hits tour, rather it will use models that haven't been on a table in a decade or more. I already got my general picked out for West Coast Mayhem and the 2009 tournament season. But until they are painted or repainted as the case maybe, random sundry characters will be in charge.

It was decided the first game would be at 500 points. That is basically two plague marine squads and nothing else. I figured I'd lose but I tried to be somewhat clever. After this game we quickly decided it would be better to up the ante quickly. I picked my army to try out a variety of new rules but also to fit in one small Charon case I won in a painting contest.

My Game One Army

Purple Plague Marine

I took the two mandatory Plague Marine squads. But I went with five man squads with no champion. I did purchase two special weapons for each squad. This would be all my anti-tank. I planned on taking lesser deamons for the first time as that would give me a third scoring unit. I also needed to take personal icons for both plague marine squads to summon the deamons. I really wish the Chaos Codex had a two wound character. HQ choices for chaos armies are pretty much going to come in at over a hundred points. Forcing myself to go all Nurgle adds 20 points to cost of any HQ choice. I decided on a cheap terminator lord as that would give him some extra mobility, plus better armor, and a power weapon.

Knowing my opponent and the mission in advance is not the norm for me. But I was unable to take advantage of it at 500 points. My plan was to deploy just the two plague marine squads which would have to survive until the deep strikers arrived. Alas I failed a couple key rolls so an early good start was offset and my lack of moveability and scoring units was once again my undoing.

Malcolm's Iron Hands

Malcolm's army was so small I can basically remember it by heart. He had three five man squads which he chose to kill my Nurgle guys. He had one with a lascannon and two with mealta guns. The two with mealta guns also had powerfist champions. His leader was the Iron Father who was totally tricked out and did a lot more than my 140 point Chaos Lord.

Set Up

I was the first to arrive so I set up the terrain. Then Carney (staffer) and Malcolm decided we should play on 4*4 table so we scrunched most of the terrain over 2 feet. Malcolm won the first roll and generally won all the rolls. We only had 3 objectives and Malcolm put one in the middle, I put mine back a bit and to my left then Malcolm put the final one back towards him and to the right. You don't have a lot of space to put objectives on a 4*4 table. Malcolm won the next roll, but chose to go second. I put my two plague marines on, effectively capturing two objectives, announced everything else would be deep striking. Malcolm didn't know about my deamons. Malcolm deployed one squad basically on the other object and the second one so that the lascannon had an elevated field of fire. His Iron Father hung out with one squad and the third squad walked on.

Turn 1

Malcolm tried to seize the iniative and failed. I think there should be a penalty for failing this roll otherwise why not always try it. I guess it depends on the mission and the armies on the table. In my first turn I didn't move so I could shoot 24 inches. I didn't kill anything.

Malcolm moved a bit getting closer to his objective but he to tried some shooting at 24 inches. The lascannon did nothing.

Turn 2

I failed both of my sumoning rolls. I moved forward and got some double taps, but because of difficult terrain I couldn't get as close as I would like. I killed one marine in the shooting then waited to see what Malcolm would do.

Malcolm advance two squads and fired all he could at the green squad. He killed one plague marine. Malcolm was now in charge range and it was ruled I wasn't defending cover even though I had two guys in a crater, I'll have to re-read this rule. Anyway with initiative three, which Malcolm had trouble beliving and fighting against the Iron Father and his four power weapon attacks and two power fist attacks plus two more power fists from the unit champion. I was down to my last model pretty quick. I had to make two armor saves to live. I failed one. I then had to make my feel no pain roll to survive. I failed, lost the second objective and the game.

Iron Hands versus Purple Plague Marines in H2H

Turn 3

I now had to run my other plague marine squad over to where the Iron Father was summon everything and hope for the best. I didn't get the best. My lord didn't arrive and the deamons were too far away so they hid and I got like two bolter shots off.

Malcolm killed something like one deamon and one plague marine. He backed up so he would be defending cover.

Turn 4

This turn I advanced on the Iron Father and his squad. My lord showed up but he wasn't allowed to charge. Due to bad difficult terrain tests only a few models got into H2H. Then I did poorly the deamons fighting at Initiative 1 because of the cover. The deamons were dead and because I was forced to follow up, my lord was wide open.

Malcolm shot the lascannon at the lord but he lived. However the mealta gun in some other squad was just in range, hit, wounded, and of course I failed my invulnerable save. 140 wasted points. Malcolm failed to kill my final plague marine in H2H.

Turn 5

This turn was a waste of time. But it took a few dice rolls to kill my final plague marine.

Next Time

My terminator lord for this game

We decided to up the points value quicker and to increase the table size too. We will now play 1250, 1500, 1750 with a big 3000 point two force org chart finale.

With an extra 750 points to play with I'll come up with something a lot more effective. I'll have heavy weapons, vehicles and maybe even a fast attack choice. Actually with only a week to paint I won't add much new to the Diseased Sons but I hope to touch up and possible finish a model or three. It is good for motivation. I'll also make heavy use of Nurgle Renegades with few plague marines. But I want to keep Malcolm guessing, I told him of one of my evil ideas, but I have evil ideas to spare.

Malcolm's Gloating

Bwahaha! The Flesh is Weak!

Seriously though, this was a fun game, and a good intro to 5th Ed. Muskie was a sporting opponent, as always, and I think we've both learned some lessons. My biggest lesson that yes, lascannons in Tactical Squads are too unreliable. Both of my ten-man Tactical Squads have lascannons, so I'm not sure if or what I'll replace them with. I have a couple of heavy bolter-toting Marines who are currently without squads, so they may get the nod. I think I'm going to steer away from using rocket launchers in Tactical Squads now, just because of the 2d6 scatter when using frag rounds. Of course, against Plague Marines I'd be kind of insane to do so anyways...

We really should have played on 6x4 instead of 4x4. I guess I'm just used to Combat Patrol instead of 500 point games. Lesson learned! I think the game would have been much more interesting with the extra space, even though the Dawn of War deployment does allow for second turn charges. My Iron-Father really rules in small games where there isn't much to stand up to him and he can pick on basic troops, but I really need a new, harder HQ for larger games. This will be doubly true in the new Codex, as I doubt Techmarines (maybe even the Master of the Forge) will have access to Invulnerable Saves.

After the game, I went home and laid out the entire Iron Hands Griogaar Clan-Company, and I think I might be able to hit 3000 points with minimal additions. Of course, the new Codex, if it's out by then, could change that dramatically. Speaking of those additions, I'm going to try and have at least one of them ready for next time, as I know for a fact my usual list and tactics at 1250 just won't work anymore. At least, that's what I'm telling myself as motivation for building a nasty surprise I've wanted to field for a long time. The fact that I won't be facing pure Plague Marines any more really tells me I need to be wary, too... Muskie has been threatening to build an anti-Iron Hands list for quite some time and I'm sure it's coming next week.

The Last Word

I decided not to let Malcolm have the last word. It is my website after all... After typing this all up I threw a few units from my army into an army list. I won't be using pure plague marines likely ever again, you just get too badly outnumbered and you can't get to objectives fast enough, even with rhinos. I still have a few clever plague marine ideas I haven't tried. I've pretty much decided to touch up and add extra detail to one of my older but still really cool conversions. I told Malcolm this was coming on the bus ride. Don't want to disappoint him. I also kinda have my 1500 point army envisioned. After the next two games I'll get serious. The Diseased Sons aren't optimized for killing marines, but if push comes to shove I could paint some extra heavy weapons and special weapons, they are already converted, primed, and sitting in my painting queue. My 1250 list lets me try out some of the new universal special rules. I wish I had some bezerkers painted up, Furious Charge seems to be just what I need, even Slaneesh fellows with their Initiative 5 gives you a definite edge in H2H with marines.

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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