Special Edition – Throne of Skulls Playtest Week #1

So, my first week of playtesting for Throne of Skulls 2012 has come to an end, with three games played. Fought against a variety of armies, some good and some bad, but crucially have learned how to best apply the forces at my disposal and hit the enemy’s weak points the hardest – in true Raven Guard style!

Without further ado, onto the Battle Reports!

Test Game 1 – Raven Guard vs Salamanders

Mission: Annihilation
Deployment: Pitched Battle

Pregame: Kill Points and 12″ deployment vs another Codex: Space Marines army. I was quite confident in my ability to get a draw out of this game, seeing as I’d written half my opponent’s army list for him. Still I was cautious, and as such deployed my Predators and Rhinos on the right flank behind a building where they would be shielded. The two Storms and their Scouts deployed on the opposite flank ready to make an aggressive Scout Move depending on my opponent’s deployment. Shrike and his friends Infiltrated 18.5″ (minimum Infiltrate distance without fiddling with .2 of an inch) away from the Combat Squad deployed furthest forward. The Storms made a 24″ Scout Move up the side of the board, ready to pounce Turn 1.

Opponent fails to Seize. Turn 1 to the Raven Guard!

Turn 1 – Scouts move in against the Predator on my left flank while Shrike and Co.  advance towards the Combat Squad and Predator on the right. My Rhinos advance cautiously, popping smoke as they go. Heavy Bolter fire from the Storms shake a Landspeeder Tornado while the Predators pull the Lascannon off his Sternguard Razorback. Shrike and Co. get a multi-assault vs the Predator and the Combat Squad, while the Scouts the Tactical Razorback and his other Predator. The Razorback is stripped of weapons and the Predator is destroyed by the Scouts. Shrike takes on the Predator and reduces it to a smoking ruin, while the Assault Marines and Librarian kill 4/5 Tactical Marines who are caught and killed.
His turn consisted of me losing 2 Scouts and 3 Assault Marines to shooting. His Sternguard charged Shrike and Co. killing my Librarian with a Power Fist but not before my Librarian had dispensed with his with his trusty Force Halberd. 3 of 4 Scouts are killed in one combat, but hold their ground, while in another combat the Scouts down 3 Marines for the loss of 3 of their own. Raven Guard 4, Salamanders – 1

Turn 2 – A Krak Missile drops the Land Speeder on my left, while a lucky Autocannon shot from my Predator drops the one on my right. The other Predator strips and immobilises his Sternguard Razorback. In Combat, Shrike is squashed by the same Power Fist that killed the Librarian. My opponent’s turn sees him killing off a Storm and the remaining Scouts in both units. Raven Guard 6, Salamanders, 5

Turn 3 – Very little happened on this turn, for either side…just a little strategic redeployment in preperation for a brutal short-range firefight. Still 6-5 to the Raven Guard. My opponent’s starting to make “the face”,  his dice rolls are pissing him off and that anger will cause him to make mistakes next turn…

Turn 4 – The last remaining Salamander Tactical Marine is gunned down by the remaining Storm, the Sternguard Sergeant is killed in combat, as is his last Tactical Sergeant. My opponent conceded before his turn 4 even began.

Result: Win by default. Raven Guard 9, Salamanders 5.

Test Game 2 – Raven Guard vs Tau

Mission: Annihilation
Deployment: Pitched Battle

Pregame: Not again! This was a very interesting Tau army, featuring Commander R’alai – the new XV-9 Commander from Forge World. I won deploymentbut knowing the Tau tricksiness, I split my forces into three parts. One Predator sat on my left flank, one on my right.  The two Rhinos sat in the middle behind cover, each one flanked by a Storm poised to make a speedy Scout Move. Shrike and Co. Infiltrated (again 18.5″) away from R’alai, his regular Shas’O and the Bodyguards placed on my right while the Storms Scout Moved towards the Hammerheads.

Turn 1 – The Predator on my left fired at the Crisis suits cowering behind a Hammerhead, but failed to kill any of them. Scouts charge in against the Hammerheads while Shrike and Co. charge the Commanders. The Scouts in both units manage to remove the Rail Cannons and stun both Hammerheads. The big combat doesn’t achieve a lot, with his Shield Drones saving his Suits while his dismal Weapon Skill saves me.
His turn 1 doesn’t do much, he manages to Stun a Storm with Pulse Rifle fire, and kill 2/5 Scouts on my left. They break and flee (oops!). The Bodyguards and the Shield Drones die in combat vs Shrike and Co. for no losses in return while the Scout Squad still fighting the Hammerhead destroy it with a well-placed Melta Bomb. Raven Guard 2, Tau 0.

Turn 2 – The Rhinos cautiously advance, popping smoke as they do so. The fleeing Scouts keep fleeing while the other Scouts join the combat with Shrike and Co. The Tau Commander dies, while R’alai Hit and Runs to safety.
The Tau reserves (two Fire Warrior Squads on foot) fail to arrive while the Storms both come under fire. Storm #1 is stunned while Storm #2 explodes. Raven Guard 3, Tau 1.

Turn 3 – Not a lot happens this turn for me, I lose my remaining Scout on the left due to a stupid mistake which saw him charging (alone) into a Crisis Team…won’t be doing that again!
One of the Fire Warrior squads arrives, and fires upon the suviving Scouts – killing one. The rest of the Tau Shooting is slightly more effective, destroying both Rhinos but crucially not pinning any of the occupants…though several Marines from both squads are killed in the explosion! Raven Guard 3, Tau 4 – Bugger!

Turn 4 – After concentrated fire on the Crisis Team that butchered my Scout, the unit breaks and flees. The Hammerhead is stripped of its final weapons having been largely ignored all game. The Scouts charge the Fire Warriors that arrived Turn 3 and kill 4 of 6, breaking them and running them down. Commander R’alai meets a sticky end at the claws of Shrike.
The Tau turn couldn’t have gone worse. The Fire Warriors fail to arrive and a brave (or insane) Tank Shock sees the Hammerhead reduced to scrap by a Melta Bomb. Raven Guard 7, Tau 4.

My opponent condeded then, stating it was impossible for him to do anything but lose. He cheered up when I mentioned he was winning at the beginning of Turn 4, and was generally pleased by his performance with a list he was still testing and tweaking.

Result: Win by default. Raven Guard 7, Tau 4.

Test Game 3 – Raven Guard vs Space Wolves

Mission: Capture and Control
Deployment: Pitched Battle

Pregame: Yay not Annihilation! Again winning deployment I placed my Rhinos behind a building in the centre and a Predator on each flank – much like my previous game against the Tau. Scouts accompanied the Rhinos and Shrike and Co. Infiltrated. The Scout Move saw the Scouts move towards a unit of Long Fangs and a Razorback while Shrike and Co. Infiltrate within striking distance of his HQ units.

Turn 1 – Predator #1 kills off his Razorback and 2/6 Wolf Guard. The Tactical Squad’s Rockets pull the Assault Cannon from the Dreadnought. Combat sees Shrike tear the Wolf Lord (who rolled 5 hits but 0 wounds with a Frost Blade!) to bits while his squad kills the remnants of his squad and the Rune Priest. One Scout squad kills a Rhino and 1 Grey Hunter while one of their own is killed in the explosion while the others kill 2 Long Fangs for the loss of a Scout…the Long Fangs then promptly fled off the board.
My opponent’s first turn sees his army in tatters already. The Heavy Flamer on his Dread kills 4/5 Scouts but the Sergeant holds for the charge. The surviving Grey Hunters charge Shrike and Co. The Dreadnought inflicts 1 wound on the Scout, killing him while Shrike and Co. butcher the Grey Hunters for the loss of 2 Assault Marines. Raven Guard 0, Space Wolves 0.

My opponent condeded at this point, as he had lost 75% of his army in the first turn and I had lost a Scout Squad. I offered him a rematch, but he declined.

Result: Win by default. Raven Guard 0, Space Wolves 0.

Post Game Thoughts

I actually am not sure what to feel about these games. I’ve won all of them by a comfortable margin, though none of them lasted to Turn 5 or beyond. I think the Salamanders player let himself get annoyed and upset and quit when he could’ve forced a draw with me – killing the remaining Storm and the Rhinos wouldn’t have been all that hard, and I only had 2 Assault Marines left! It would’ve required concentrated fire, but it was certainly possible. The Tau player and the Space Wolf player both knew they were defeated and with such a margin (and some bloody unlucky rolls) would find it impossible to even force a draw.

I don’t like winning like this, as I don’t feel anyone has a full game if their opponent concedes or destroys them within a few turns. But then I remind myself, this is for a Tournament. Eight Weeks til Throne of Skulls means six more weeks of testing (not including the time my girlfriend is staying for two weeks) and then I can go back to writing fun, fluffy lists that emphasise the friendly and fun nature of wargaming🙂 Maybe I’ll rebuild the Sanguinary Guard army and give non-metallics a go as well…finally get some painting articles up =P

That’s it for this issue, thanks for reading! Until next time!

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