Blood Angels v. Space Wolves, 1850pt Ann.,Spear

So I was very happy to get a chance to play a list featuring my new Stormraven.  As I have learned from over 2 years of 40k experience, as exciting as it is to play a new model (particularly one you’ve waited to get your hands on for months),  it  can also be a recipe for disappointment.  For example, the first time Jim and I played these armies against each other, Jim managed to punch a melta hole through my custom Captain Tycho on round two when his sneaky Wolf Scouts arrived.  I expressed my disappointment like any other 13 year old would’ve by throwing poor Tycho across the Blue Planet.  So needless to say, I wanted to do my best to keep the Stormraven alive.  I mean, winning is one thing, but it isn’t the only thing.

So at 1850pts, we had a pretty good match-up of firepower.  Jim went mech heavy, sporting two Vindicators, two Lazbacks, a Rhino, a Land Raider and a drop pod with an Asasult Cannon-armed Dreadnought.  There were some tac squads, a Long Fang squad (why wouldn’t he have one?), some wolf scouts and, nestled in the belly of that LR, a unit of Assault Termies.

I went a little more of a hybrid approach.  I started with two lazbacks and a Lascannon Dreadnought with  a ML combat squad on the table.  In reserve I kept the Stormraven (laden with a Furioso Dread and a unit of Sanguinary Guard plus JP Librarian), two 5 man AS with melta, a Baal with Flamestorm cannon.

The first turn was a lot of shooting, resulting in a blown up Lazback on my side and an exploded Vindicator on Jim’s side.  My Lascannon Dread was a tank killer that game.  Unfortunately, Wolf Scouts proved to be to wily for him later in the game.

The second turn is where things got interesting.  Jim blew up my other Lazback, making my Alpha teams situation a little dire.  But then I made all of my reserve rolls (with the help of the DoA rule).  Everyone who deep-struck came in fine, the Baal showed up right behind the Long Fangs, and the Stormraven went flat out from my table edge.  The second Vindicator was ‘sploded by the Dread, one of the AS wrecked the LR, and the Baal incinerated half the Long Fangs.  Only one of the AS failed to pull off anything awesome, as I think the meltagunner forgot to turn off his safety.

Round 3, Jim retaliated by stunning the Baal, shooting and assaulting one AS with tac marines from the Lazbacks, and assaulting the other AS with the AT.  The AT overwhelmed the AS (no big surprise there), and the other AS managed to survive another round.  But the good news for me was that the Stormraven survived the shooting phase!  I had to move the Stormraven into the fray so it could get its troops out, which meant moving it precariously close to the LR and Vindicator (before, of course, they got blown up).  It was the first moral victory of the game.

I think it was in Round 3 that my tank killing Dread found its nemesis in the form of Wolf Scouts.  Although in this round the Wolf Scouts decided to take out my ML Combat Squad.  This ended up putting them in a risky position, as they were sure to be charged by the Dread.  And so it went.  However, I opted not to shoot them, as I didn’t want them running off.  So my Dread charged in, killing one or two Scouts.  Then Jim reminded me what ATSKNF is really about- getting out of futile assault scenarios.  So his Scouts escaped the combat, now with Melta ready to do its work.  But the next turn the Melta missed, and the Dread now fired its Lascannon and Storm Bolters.  And missed with everything.  Slap fest ensued, another scout or two went down, and they ATSKNF’ed there way out.  It felt like this pattern ensued forever, until the Scouts finally sealed the deal with the Melta.

Back to the Stormraven and Co.- the next turn was good for the Stormraven, but bad for its passengers.  After moving closer to the one of the Lazbacks and blowing it up (twin-linked Multi-Meltas are the best anti-tank weapon ever) and I think hitting some power armor with a plasma cannon, the Furioso and Sang. Guard leapt into Assault.  Both units engaged a lone Rune Priest, and the Furioso made a smoothie out of him.  Off to a great start, right?  The San Guard just watched, probably nodding in approval at the bloodiness of it all.  The Furioso then consolidated towards the AT, the San Guard towards a dangerous Rhino.  The Rhino had a tac squad with a plasma gun and melta gun.  I keep forgetting how great a simple Rhino is when the right guns are inside it.  Anyway, a hail of bolter fire and the aforementioned plamsa and melta shredded the San Guard, leaving a wounded Librarian and one lone San Guard.  The Dread had even worse luck, as the remaining Lazback surprised me by going after him instead of the Stormraven.  Good thing too, as it got as good as it gave with an exploded result.

The game continued into 7 turns.  The whole time the Stormraven denied Jim’s multiple ML, Melta and plasma shots, while still causing a fair amount of damage in turn.  The Baal was blown up (almost all mech exploded in a manner that would have made Michael Bay proud), the San Guard and AS all died, and by the end both sides were whittled down considerably.  Jim ended up winning the game 12-10.  A tie was avoided when Jim managed to roll 4 cover saves against the Stormraven’s Plasma Cannon.  All in all, it was one of the best games I’ve played in a while, and not just because the Stormraven survived.  But mainly because it did survive.

What would I have done differently?  Replaced the San Guard with TH/SS Terminators.  They would have cost 15 points less and probably would’ve done better, although I was rolling a lot of 1’s for +2 saves anyway.