Thursday, November 6, 2008

How-To: Play to a Draw vs. Armored Company

Got to play my Week 4 Macharian Crusade game tonight. My opponent was Bushido Red Panda, and he brought his Armored Company.

This being my second outing against an Armored Company, I thought I'd briefly share my experiences.

I'll give the ending away: the game ended in a draw.

"How does one play to a draw against Armored Company, Joe?" you may find yourself asking.

Great question, thank you for asking.

Here's how you do it:

1. Play spearhead deployment with capture & control mission. That's right, two objectives and table quarters. Guess where your objective goes? If you answered anything other than, "In your own back corner," you've answered incorrectly and must turn in all your models, rulebooks, codex(es), dice, etc. What this means in game terms is the objective you must take (and your opponent must take, too) are the maximum distance away from each other they can possibly be!
2. Park a Land Raider on your objective, and have your opponent literally line the two back table edges with tanks.
3. Lose the "seize the initiative" roll. This will let the Armored Company player go first. This means you don't get to pop smoke on your Rhinos, and that makes them basically sitting ducks for, oh, far too many battle cannons and -- if you're especially lucky -- a Tank Hunter Destroyer. Did I mention 2 Basilisks? No? Well, you can't lose your army to template-y death unless your opponent gives you what I'm going to term, "The Armored Company Full Monty," without 2 Basilisks. I'm happy to say I got "The Armored Company Full Monty" tonight!
4. Lose 2 of your 3 Rhinos by the end of the top of turn 2. Also, lose one of your Havok squads, and have your Land Raider immobilized. Also, your now-footsloggin' Chaos Lord and attached Chosen squad and one of your formerly-Rhino-mounted CSM units should go ahead and suck a big, fat helping of template death, even after "Going to Ground". Good times!
5. When your outflanking Chosen actually arrive on the "correct" side of the board -- you know, the one with all the tanks on it, go ahead and melta that Leman Russ, because you know next turn, they're going to eat a template. Or four.
6. Greater daemons are tough. They are not so tough that they can survive an alpha strike from an Exterminator and a couple of templates. No, that 4+ invulnerable save only goes so far!
7. Deep-striking terminators that actually "hit" their deep-strike target, only to miss with the one combi-melta they have really, really suck. Also, when every gun in an Armored Company dedicates itself to killing said terminators, they will usually succeed -- even if it takes 3 or 4 tries to get it right.
8. One lonely surviving las cannon-armed Havok can actually manage to blow up one tank then destroy the auto-cannons on an Exterminator the next turn if he's left to his own devices.
9. However, to really pull out the draw in style, you have to have a Land Raider with a unit of CSMs inside parked on your objective. The game must run the full 7 turns. Turns 5, 6 and 7 the Land Raider must take the full firepower of the 7 remaining tanks in the Armored Company -- including the Tank Hunter Destroyer with its S10 AP2 Laser Destroyer Cannon and a menagerie of Battle and Earthshaker cannons -- and live, with not one penetrating hit during those 3 full turns of raining template death.

All in all, it was a fun -- if sometimes frustrating -- game. Jay (Bushido) is a great player and I knew it was going to be a good game. I also knew from deployment to game end that unless something really odd happened, it was going to be a draw. There was no way I was going to destroy that "V" of tanks on his back table edges, and he couldn't get close enough with his tanks to take mine.

Next up, for Week 5, I'm facing "Mordian Iron Guard", which I'm not familiar with at all. One thing about the Macharian Crusade, I'm learning a lot about Imperial Guard. These Mordians seem to be a more-or-less "standard" Guard army, so it looks like it's time to break the Khorne Berzerkers back out!