Monday, May 9, 2011

Grey Knights vs Salamanders - 'Ardboyz Practice Game

Lately, I have been spending some time trying to come up with a list I want to take to 'Ardboyz this year.  And yeah, yeah I know 2,500 pts you can take whatever you want.  And while this is true, so can everyone else.  To me it is much harder to make a strong all-comers list that can win at 2,500 as it is almost impossible to include something to take down whatever the opponent will bring.  In smaller games, like 1,500, you only have to be ready for the 2 or 3 best units from each codex, because that is what the competitive guys will spam.  IMO.

Finally, I had a chance to get in a game with reklawsj to test the list I wrote up.  He finally finished his college career, so now has a short break before real life starts.  He wanted to test a Grey Knights list he wrote up so he could tweak for the tournament in August.  He has made it to semis the last two years using his Salamanders and wanted a change.  I finished 4th two years ago with Chaos and 3rd last year with IG to get into semis, where we both got owned, haha.

My most recent list thoughts have included being on the opponent as early game as possible with as much of my army as possible.  Not necessarily an alpha-strike concept, just a you now need to deal with this half of my army now, and when you do, the other half arrives.  This is a tough concept to explain and even harder to find a codex that does this effectively.  For this year, I finally decided on a Vulkan list with a side of Shrike.

My list consists of:

Shrike with 10 TH/SS termies infiltrating
Vulkan with 5 TH/SS termies in LR Redeemer
3 units of Tactical Marines in Rhinos with combi-melta, meltagun, multimelta
1 unit of Scouts with combi-melta/meltabomb Srg in Landspeeder Storm with Multimelta
3 Attack Bikes with Multimelta
2 Landspeeders with Multimelta/Heavy Flamers
1 Dreadnought with Multimelta/Heavy Flamer in Drop Pod

His Grey Knight List consisted of:

Coteaz with Henchmen in Chimera(psykers and plasmacannons)
3 Strike Squads with 10 dudes in Rhinos - 2 psycannons, some hammers, halberds, etc
2 Interceptor Squads with 10 dudes - 2 psycannons and few hammers in each
2 Techmarines with Orbital Relays
Dreadnought with lascannons
Think that is all

We learned a lot about our lists and a lot about the Grey Knights at once.  We played Spearhead deployment with 3 objectives.  I had first turn, but got seized by Coteaz, this hurt.  I had scouted by Storm up for the alpha attack and had Shrike with buddies in open 18" out.  After Grey Knights first turn, the Storm was a wreck(Chimera), the Redeemer was exploded(Vindicare made this look easy), a Rhino was immobilized(psycannons are good), and I had lost 2 termies from Shrikes unit(misc shooting).  The only good part was his psykers rolled boxcars and all died.  I was pretty down after this turn, before I even started to play.  Funny, because my army is all about this same principle.  Devastate opponent early on and overwhelm his side of board before game starts for him.  Irony.  I think I told him too much of my plan when I came up with the list.

We decided to continue, thinking that if I could pull this one out the list had some balls.  Keeping this short, I essentially just ran both units of termies as fast as possible toward him.  Dreadnought dropped, missed, died.  Shrike charged a unit and was mercilessly cut down by daemon hammers after killing only 3 dudes.  I isolated the right half of the board using the termies as tarpits.  I had one objective easily on right flank and tried to contest another on left, but he cut down my unit.  He used a shunt move from an Interceptor squad to slow down another one of my units going for the middle objective, while he tank-shocked through my termies with a Strike Squad to take the objective in his fifth turn.  We timed this game so knew this was end game.  I used my Attack bike to run to left objective and contest, one down.  For the middle unit, I was able to pop rhino with bikes, and assaulted strike squad with termies pulling them from objective.  The Interceptor squad was annihilated by hammers and  Vulkan.

So, end game saw me having one objective and contesting the other two.  Awesome game with huge swings of luck and dice rolling.  Mine were terrible early, but heated up.  I must have made at least 50 saves on the termies with another 30 storm shield saves made.  At end game I still had 7 of the 15 remaining, keeping in mind all of these walked across the board.

What did we learn?  I learned why he always plays Salamanders, Vulkan is awesome.  All those re-rolls are invaluable in a game using dice.  Shrike and his unit didn't take tons of early game fire as I hoped.  Of course, he knew I wanted them to absorb everything while the rest of the army got into position, so he didn't fall for it.  The list did well even without the LR, the Storm and Scouts died immediately and the dreadnought whiffed.  This will not keep any of these out though, because the Storm is cheap and can gain it's points back three-fold in right situation as goes for the the dreadnought.  I want more practice games is all.

On the Grey Knight side we saw a few things.
Vindicare Assassin is a must in any list, he kills things, anythings.

Techmarines with Orbital Relays - Overhyped for sure, don't think after 10 shots they even killed a model.  Bolster defences would have been nice, but I never shot at these units.

Grey Knights need to sit and shoot until time comes to pull out their power weapons and go to work on leftovers.  They die like marines, but can get the jump on you with those halberds.  I think would have been more effective if my armor saves weren't on fire with the storm shields.

Dreadnought was fine until I hit him in head with a hammer.  My list lacked any psykers and little shooting so didn't see fortitude or aegis at work.

Fun times for sure, even with crappy first turn for me, I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.  The Grey Knights book has potential, it will just take some games to figure them out.  I do wish the psyker squad had performed better as I think they would have helped thin the termies down alot.

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