I slammed together a list the night before, as I had no real idea what I wanted to play. I thought about testing Salamanders Chapter tactics with a lot of flamers and melta (though melta is irrelevant to the CT unless you run Vulkan, which I didn't plan to do). I also wanted to try the Hammerfall Strike Force formation from the Strike Force Ultra dataslate.
In the end, I went with the Hammerfall Strike Force formation, and added a Combined Arms Detachment of a Librarian, Command Squad in Deathwind Pod (4 plasma guns, and an apothecary), 10-man tactical in Rhino, and 7 Scouts with snipers and a missile launcher. I wanted to play some damned Terminators for a change, and wanted to try out the new psychic powers. Everything was run as Ultramarines.
I did discover one question when building the list: Can a Formation be your Primary Detachment? The rulebook defines a Formation as a "special type of Detachment" that only consist of the units defined as part of the formation. The only definition of Primary Detachment is the detachment from which you select your Warlord. With that being said, can you select your Warlord from a Formation so long as he fits the criteria for being the Warlord, thereby making the Formation your Primary Detachment? I played my Terminator Captain as my Warlord based on those readings, and I'm fairly certain that was legal. What say you?
My first game was against Thor from Creative Twilight. We seem to play each other every month now, though with only six players in the field there was a 20% chance of that happening. The players decided before the day started to try out the Tactical Objectives system and track a winner using raw victory points. The first mission of the day was #5, where you had three cards and kept them secret.
Thor ran a Korne-centered force with one or two Nurgle-marked units for effect. He beat me pretty handily (10-3), as I had no clue what the hell I was doing, and made some pretty dumb deployment decision. Dropping the pod full of plasma in front of Kharn and a Berserker squad was pretty dumb, since they're Fearless and rolled Deny the Witch tests on a 2+. My Telepathy casting Librarian couldn't do much to them.
We did learn some valuable lessons about slight changes to USRs in 7th Edition tough. You have to check the wording of your tried and true USRs now, as things like Rage and Hatred no longer confer to a whole squad! Those are now model-by-model, unless another rule like a Warlord Trait or unit ability (Chaplains) says otherwise.
Second game was against an Eldar force that was built to dismantle Gargantuans and Superheavies. it was perfectly adept at dismantling my cobbled together army. I think the final score was 14-1. Proof that strong units are still strong in 7th.
My last game of the day was against White Scars, but not in bikes. Tactical Squads, Scouts, Terminators, Land Raider, Sternguard, and a Storm Raven. This one was much closer, ending 7-6 in my opponent's favor. I actually had a nice, early lead but a strong couple of turns near the end flipped the situation, which was interesting to see.
All in all, a very good learning day. Here are some of the lessons I learned:
- It's much harder to one-shot vehicles without AP1 weapons. Expect far more wrecks than explosions.
- Psychic powers are tough to cast, and Deny bonuses make that exponentially harder. Trying to throw three dice at an ML1 power when your opponent denies on a 4+ or even a 5+ makes things so much harder, and throwing yet more dice makes the risk of Perils huge.
- Objective placement in Maelstrom of War missions might as well be flatly dictated as equidistant across the board by the rules. In all three games, the objectives ended up in a pretty standard spread across the board. In the two Dawn of War games I played (two and three), the objectives were in damned near identical places.
- Tactical Objectives are fun and interesting, but they require you to build a list based on them. if you can't move to other objectives, you're boned. However, if you're lucky enough to draw the same objective numbers in multiple turns, you can pile up a solid lead on points that your opponent has to overcome.
- It's important to remember your Warlord traits and Chapter tactics every game! I rolled Strategic traits in every game, and got a different one each time. One was -1 to enemy reserve rolls, but Thor forgot to roll his reserves until Turn Four. Game Two was to force a Pinning test on three enemy units at the beginning of his first turn, which I forgot to use (might have helped keep some fire off my guys early). Game Three was Stealth (Ruins) and Move Through Cover (Ruins), which I remembered, but there was only one ruin on the board, and it had solid walls. I forgot my Chapter Tactics completely in Game One and half of Game Two.
- Terrain is shitty and boring in 7th Edition. Seriously. EVERYTHING is a 5+ save now except ruins, and area terrain is so ambiguously defined that it's confusing. Of course, that makes Stealth and Shrouded that much more valuable.
- I need to stop experimenting with crazy lists. While it's neat to try new things every month with the different Chapter Tactics, I'm stunting my ability to refine and better my game with one Tactic. Simple things like remembering to even use CTs become easier with practice, and I've spent too many games jumping from CT to CT that I've made myself rusty on applying my Ultramarine CT. I need to write an "ideal" list, and work towards refining it instead of toying around. Not so I can win all the time (read as: "ever"), but so I can play the game competently. it's a HUGE detractor to the game being played if I build an Ultramarine list and forget to apply all the Ultramarine bonuses!
After all of that, I can happily report that my Company Champion is now complete. The paint on his base was drying last night, but I hope to get pictures up tomorrow or Wednesday. Next up is the Apothecary...