Episode 77: Beep Boop

Missed my previous posts? Check them out below!


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Well I was hoping to have held the line with a long, GT Battle Report but for reasons I go into that didn't quite pan out. Unfortunately this week was also a bad one for 40K as multiple games fell through and I had a tough time even finding games, sometimes that happens. I've filled the time by checking out the new AoS 2.0 Rules which look to be an equal measure of great changes and things that have potential to break the game. Time will well. I will post my thoughts on AoS sometime this week as a join venture with a website I write for, look out for that. I will likely play some games with the Skaven stuff I already have as part of my 40K collection but will otherwise be holding off as I still see a lot of problems with the competitive side of the system.

Back to 40K, I was able to sneak a game in on Saturday with a local new-comer, Shawn, and his Necrons. Shawn has only been playing a few months to my knowledge but gets games in as often as he can and seems up for a challenge. I was sporting a changed list after posting some revisions online and getting some of the worst advice imaginable, as I expected, so getting some familiarity with it in a more casual game seemed like a good idea.



Imperium

Battalion - Imperial Guard [Cadian]

 Company Commander w/ Boltgun, Chainsword
Company Commander w/ Shotgun, Chainsword, Karov's Aquila (Warlord w/ Grand Strategist)

Infantry Squad
Infantry Squad
Infantry Squad

Heavy Weapons Squad w/ 3 Mortars
Heavy Weapons Squad w/ 3 Mortars
Heavy Weapons Squad w/ 3 Mortars

Battalion - Deathwatch

Watch Captain w/ Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Stormbolter
Watch Captain w/ Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Stormbolter

 7 Veterans, 1 Watch Sergeant, 1 Black Shield w/ Stormbolters and Chainswords
 7 Veterans, 1 Watch Sergeant, 1 Black Shield w/ Stormbolters and Chainswords
 7 Veterans, 1 Watch Sergeant, 1 Black Shield w/ Stormbolters and Chainswords

Battalion - Blood Angels

 Captain w/ Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield (The Angel's Wings)
Captain w/ Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield
Captain w/ Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield

8 Death Company, 7 Thunder Hammers and 1 Chainsword/Boltgun

5 Scouts w/ Boltguns
5 Scouts w/ Boltguns
5 Scouts w/ Boltguns

6 Devastators w/ Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter, Cherub



Necrons

 Overlord w/ The Veil of Darkness (Warlord w/ Hyperlogical Strategist)
Overlord w/ Warscythe
Lord w/ Warscythe
Cryptek w/ Canoptek Cloak

5 Deathmarks
5 Deathmarks
C'tan Shard of the Deceiver (Antimatter Meteor & Transdimensional Thunderbolt)

5 Immortals w/ Tesla Carbines
5 Immortals w/ Tesla Carbines
5 Immortals w/ Tesla Carbines

5 Canoptek Wraiths
5 Canoptek Wraiths
3 Destroyers
3 Tomb Blades w/ Tesla Carbines and Shadowlooms

Doomsday Ark

Shawn's list was a mix of Sautekh and Novokh, all I recall is the Ark was Sautekh and the Wraiths were Novokh, other than that the Dynasties didn't come up to my recollection.



Mission and Deployment
ITC Mission #2
Hammer and Anvil

 Imperium Secondary Objectives
Headhunter, Recon, Old School

Necron Secondary Objectives
Headhunter, Recon, Old School

Terrain was mostly medieval stuff as a lot of games were going on at my FLGS, always a good thing to see. Forests were played as blocking LoS and being infinitely high unless you were inside the forest, then you can see out and be seen. Buildings were played as area terrain ruins/obstacles.

For Secondaries I took the standard ones when your opponent isn't giving up much, Shawn did the same. For the Mission I felt advantaged as Necrons are not known for being able to hold ground and Shawn's list is heavier on melee than most. The center Objective also affords no Cover so if something like the Immortals jump onto it I can shell them with Mortars at the very worst. Hammer and Anvil also favored me as my army can land where it needs to or shoot from afar whereas Shawn is more medium range and has to deliver his melee units.

 My focus for the game was going to be penning Shawn in so that I can control most of the board and slowly tick up on Objectives. With Terrain I'll be able to either hide or get my Guard in Cover and that eliminates my easy Kill Points so the hope is I can get a few Kill Mores as the game progresses. Big threats will be the Destroyers, Wraiths, and the Deceiver as all those can scythe through my Marines, with them gone the Deathwatch can take the game over.

For Deployment I hid the Guard as much as I could along with the Devastators and the Marine Characters, favoring the right side of the table. All the Veterans and the Death Company went into Deep Strike and the Scouts decided to go for a mostly aggressive play. I reasoned the unit is fairly useless in this matchup so the best I could do would be to deploy them aggressively and try to kill an Immortal unit with melee. In hindsight I should have committed to this and put all three units up the board.

Shawn mostly focused on the left side but put his Objective on the right, this proved interesting as I could take his Objective fairly easily but then would be subject to counter-attack by the rest of the army. A unit of Wraiths and the Tomb Blades reinforced the right but were placed on the line.

I won the roll to go first and decided to take it as Shawn failed to seize. 







Imperium Turn 1

 Right away I noticed a Deployment error from Shawn that exposed his Destroyers and a few other units. With that on my mind I used Upon Wings of Fire into the Relic Captain. My Scouts both moved up to do their Charge against the Immortals, keeping one unit out of LoS to avoid Overwatch as Bolters into 2+ Saves are not very effective. My Devastators also moved over to get sight onto the Wraiths and dump some Mortal Wounds into them (Shawn told me Wraiths have FLY, which they do not when I looked things up afterwards). The non-Deep Strike Captain moved to Heroic Intervention in the event of a Charge and I dropped the Relic Captain 9" away from the Destroyers.

Shooting was very minimal as I had nothing to throw my Mortars into of much relevance, I ended up killing a few Immortals across two units. I probably would have been better to put shots into the Wraiths instead as they don't get back up without a Stratagem. I also managed to kill a Wraith with Flakk Missile and Hellfire Rounds, putting a wound on another.

For Charges I was able to get both Scout units in and the Relic Captain by using Descent of Angels. The Scouts largely bounced, only killing two Immortals, but the Captain was able to drop all the Destroyers with Red Rampage and Consolidate into the Warlord. I took two wounds from the Warscythe and lost two Scouts to the Deceiver. The Captain then fought again via Honor the Chapter, dropping the Overlord. I then Consolidated once more into the Wraiths, who killed the Captain but lose three through Only in Death Does Duty End. The Overlord tried to get back up with Resurrection Protocols but failed even through a re-roll.

Score
5-1 for Imperium

Overall I got the first turn I wanted, doing big damage to nearly all the major targets I identified. Only one Wraith unit will be able to use Repair Subroutines, leaving the other vulnerable. I also eliminated the Warlord which netted me some points and stopped Veil of Darkness, although I wasn't that scared of whatever would be brought along with the Overlord. I had an idea of putting the Captain into something that would kill it if I could get even more value from him and it worked out well, probably something I'll keep in mind going forward. Altogether that one model spent 8 CP in one turn!

  









Necrons Turn 1

 Obviously reeling from being hit so hard on Turn 1 Shawn went about getting his models in order. One Immortal got back up while all the Wraiths on the left failed after using Repair Subroutines. Movement saw the Cryptek move up a bit and the Wraiths move back into his Aura, signaling a play for next turn to get them into the fight. Both the Deceiver and Immortals Fell Back, moving foward, while the Tomb Blades moved to secure the center Objective. Finally the Wraiths on the right Advanced and used Adaptive Subroutines to play for a Charge. A few Scouts died as the Deceiver used his Thunderbolt power on them.

Shooting was mostly ineffective as Shawn was missing some units and others had LoS issues. A few Guardsmen died to the Tomb Blades and I lost all but three Scouts in Shawn's Deployment Zone. Charges saw the Wraiths get into my Devastators and Captain, the remaining Scouts were ignored.

Combat saw all the Wraiths try to attack the Captain, who only took 2 Wounds, attacks back dropped a Wraith. Shawn used Blood Rites to have the Wraiths fight again but a Command Re-roll saved the Captain, making the Combat mostly a wash. My Guardsmen and Scouts both passed Morale.

Shawn scored for Hold More but I netted Kill More.

Score
6-5 for Imperium



Imperium Turn 2

Knowing I could now make an even stronger push for Shawn's side of the board I started by Falling Back with the Captain and Devastators. My healthy Scout unit moved up to try a Charge into the Tomb Blades. What was left of the other Scouts prepared to Charge the healthy Immortals and tie them up, if they could. My Reserves came down with the Death Company focusing on the larger Wraith unit and the Veterans scattering around the board. My goal for the Turn was to get Shawn off his Objective and hold it. The Blood Angels Captain came down on Shawn's Objective to reinforce, this caused both Deathmarks to appear but I only took one Wound on the Captain.

Shooting dropped two of the Wraiths thanks to the Veterans, unfortunately Shawn told me they have a 3+ Save and they had Cover after a loss but this isn't the case as they have a 4+ Save. I also dropped two Tomb Blades and all the Immortals on Shawn's Objective, leaving just an Overlord.

Charges got the Death Company into the remaining Wraiths in my Deployment Zone, the BA Captain and some Veterans into the Overlord, the Scouts into the last Tomb Blade, and the other Scouts into the Immortals. Overwatch did nothing.

In Combat my Death Company made short work of the Wraiths and the Captain bopped the Overlord. I dragged one Immortal down but only wounded the last Tomb Blade. Shawn did nothing in return. This gave me control over both Shawn's Objective and the center, netting me a Bonus Point. I also snagged Recon as the Scouts were still somehow alive.

Once again I hit all my Objectives this turn. Almost all of Shawn's army is now stuck in the corner and he has very little to work with. I should be able to keep control over Shawn's Objective as I have a good amount of models in the area and at least for this turn nothing will be able to put up a fight. The next focus will be finishing off the Tomb Blades and getting into good shooting positions for the Veterans along with Cover.

Score
11-5 for Imperium









Necrons Turn 2

 Once again Repair Subroutines went on the Wraiths, getting all but one back. Both Tomb Blades got up as I didn't surround the last model, I didn't know that was how Reanimation Protocols worked (the model cannot be placed within 1" of an enemy), so that's something to keep in mind moving forward! I believe all the Immortals failed to get up.

The Wraiths and Deceiver moved up to finish the Scouts and the Doomsday Ark poked its head out. The Tomb Blades Fell Back to shoot and the Cryptek followed the Lord to move more towards the center.

Shooting killed quite a few Veterans on the Necron Objective with the Doomsday Ark as I failed a lot of saves, I also lost four Scouts in the center from the Tomb Blades. A few Mortal Wounds went out from the Deceiver, killing more Veterans but sparing nearby units.

A Charge from the Wraiths and Lord got into the Scouts, removing them with ease. I failed Morale on the Veterans, even with ATSKNF, leaving two. Unfortunately Shawn wasn't able to get his Objective back but did kill something. This time I got both Kill More and Hold More for a pretty big Scenario lead.

Score
 13-6 for Imperium






Imperium Turn 3

Seeking to put the nail in the coffin I continued moving up with most of my army. One Watch Captain moved forward to deal with the Deathmarks while the Blood Angel Captain hid out on the Objective for the moment. My two man Veterans walked up to make themselves known before getting wiped out. The Veterans on my side moved towards the Tomb Blades along with the other Blood Angel Captain and the Devastators move up to get LoS next turn. Finally the Death Company used Upon Wings of Fire to aim for the Wraiths.

Shooting wiped out the Tomb Blades thanks to the Veterans and Mortars, giving me firm control over the center Objective. I also finished the remaining Immortals with Mortars and Deathwatch shooting, removing most of Shawn's shooting.

My Watch Captain got into the Deathmarks along with the two Veterans, the Death Company also made their Charge thanks to Descent of Angels. Combat was a mixed bag as I easily dropped the Deathmarks but only killed one Wraith due to poor rolls and great saves from Shawn. The Wraiths and Lord then killed 5 Death Company before they fought again, dropping two more Wraiths.

The turn wasn't as good as I'd hoped due to some dice flubs, the Wraiths still being around is annoying but Shawn was very low on CP so if he tried to recycle them he'd be empty. Killing the Doom Ark will likely be fairly hard with what I have left and the Deceiver has to hide behind it or immediately die to the Veterans. With the Combats going on Shawn will never reclaim his Objective although he can get the center this turn, putting himself into a good position with the Doomdsay Ark but sacrificing the Deceiver.

Score
17-6 for Imperium








Remaining Turns

Shawn played out his Turn 3, killing a good amount of Veterans with the Ark and also finishing the Death Company. He Charged a Cryptek into a one wound Watch Captain but whiffed, losing the Character for his trouble. Two of the Wraiths also got back up, this left Shawn with the Ark, the Deceiver, a Lord, and three Wraiths against most of my army. At this point he conceded the game.

It's likely on my Turn the Deceiver dies and the Ark takes a lot of damage, possibly dying. With no CP remaining the Wraiths would have to run and hide as I chased them down with Mortars and Veterans, the Lord relegated to much the same role. This makes it unlikely Shawn would have scored anymore points for the game while I would have gotten two points under a maximum possible score.



Post-Game Thoughts

While this game was completely one-sided I think it can also be used as a great learning experience for newer players. Before I get into that I'll briefly go over the stuff that applies to my play and my army.

I played very well in my estimation, not really making any mistakes from a tactical perspective. I didn't know about the particulars of Reanimation Protocols but will keep that in mind moving forward, typically I just try to delete the whole unit but that's not always possible. Shawn was a good opponent for mentioning that to me for future use.

Overall I'm happy with how the list played, replacing the Intercessors with Veterans worked pretty much as I thought it would with much more offense but also more of a glass-cannon unit. I think this is the way to go though because with Deep Strike you can guarantee a first hit and I put a lot of pressure on the opponent to now pick between all sorts of targets. Getting the Veterans into Cover is even better but not always viable. I wasn't able to get a good feel for the Devastators but I'm leaning towards dropping them as I really don't want more CP sinks, more units that need to hide early, etc. Mortal Wounds are great but my list can handle most of the threats those combat. I'll likely revert back to two Mortar Teams, get the Mortars back in the Infantry Squads, put just one Psyker in and return to the third Watch-Captain.

So with that out of the way, where did the game go wrong? I'm going to ignore list composition as Shawn said he experiments with many different things that Necrons can run as he learns more about the game. I actually quite liked the Wraiths, they hit hard and are pretty fast while giving a more Infantry based army something to do with its Command Points. Instead I'm going to focus on how a newer player could have gotten more out of this game.

It's important to keep in mind that Shawn was very unfamiliar with what my army is capable of, I explained some things but it takes too long to go into detail about every unit, Stratagem, etc. What I'll usually do when I'm unfamiliar with a unit is ask for abbreviated information that pertains to what I'm doing. For example if I want to attack something I'll ask for its defensive stats and what defensive Stratagems it has access to. If I'm working on positioning I'll ask how far something moves, can it Advance and Charge through any means? These questions help to get more familiar with what an opponent has during the game whereas just reading the Datasheet can waste time and can also be forgotten during play. Even in situations where I know what a unit can do I'll just reinforce that knowledge by asking anyways, best case I'm right and worst case we can resolve any rule discrepancy before I commit to an action, or I can be corrected.

Over time I've noticed that new players, whether they be new to the game or are just starting to get their competitive legs, don't ask as many questions as they should. A lot of the disastrous things that happened in this game to Shawn could have been avoided by slowly getting information from me. Maybe if he knew that Blood Angels can perform a 3d6 Charge Deployment would have been a bit more defensive, that would have preserved firepower and kept more options on the table through My Will Be Done and Veil of Darkness.

Another good way to learn units over time is to check out a site like DakkaDakka or the Warhammer Competitive Reddit and look over lists. If you're unsure what something does, look it up in the Codex. If you don't have the Codex, pirate it (Yes I endorse piracy for rules, this game is expensive enough!) Often people post armies with the most popular units from the Faction they play, that allows for a baseline familiarity with each Faction in the game. It also builds the habit of looking things up which is a very good one to have especially on the competitive side of the game where people claim to know their rules but often don't.

It would be easy to pick apart the turns in this game and point out positioning, deployment, target selection, etc. but those improvements will come with time. Before worrying about those things I'm of the opinion the learning the rules of armies and the game backwards and forwards is more beneficial and will produce more success in the long term than endlessly worrying about this unit could have been here instead of there.

As an aside on Necrons, I looked over their Codex after this game to check some rules (normally I do this during the game but I left my tablet at home). Necrons are considered a fairly weak army in the competitive scene as many of their models are over-priced while Reanimation Protocols is not a powerful rule against players who are familiar with it. Triple Vault has emerged as the most likely competitive list for the army but it's very unlikely to win any kind of even moderately sized event, functioning as a gatekeeper instead. The army is also quite cost prohibitive and likely to be nerfed in Chapter Approved as Vaults are a few hundred points under-priced.

Something that caught my eye was the Nephrekh Stratagem to Deep Strike Infantry. While the Trait itself is fairly weak, although you can make good use of it with Wraiths, being able to Deep Strike is a huge problem solver for Necrons. Destroyers are one of their best units but suffer from being hard to hide and getting blown off the table early. Being able to drop them when you want would resolve that issue and they aren't hurt by the Deep Strike change as they're a long-range shooting unit. Taking a Nephrekh Outrider with Wraiths and Destroyers/Heavy Destroyers is something I'd certainly experiment with if I played Necrons, a Cryptek is also a good HQ for that Detachment because they're very position based but don't care about Charges so much.

When an army is under-powered due to points it seems best to focus on strategies that will not change much as unit costs fluctuate. Obviously I don't have any insight on the next Chapter Approved but I'd bet Necrons will get at least a few point reductions, they're showing up on no top tables and have very little representation overall. Taking losses while getting familiar with strategies other than spamming Vaults seems like valuable experience as well as probably being a more fun army. That being said I'd still probably play at least one Vault in every list. :P

Thanks for reading, I hope to get more reports up this week and I am also running a small RTT that I will likely be playing in, unless that would create a bye. Starting in July I'll have at least two events a month to play in which should be extremely fun and illuminating. I'll try not to drop from future tournaments as well.

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