I had the opportunity yesterday to enjoy some great games of 40k and 30k at the local Games Workshop with my usual gaming partners, Matt and Harry. This being my first time out with my newly painted Luna Wolves (using the Space Wolves codex), I was looking forward to seeing how they would perform on the table.
Spoiler alert: the Luna Wolves got demolished in 40k. But thankfully, they did a little better in 30k – more after the break.
The first game was a 1500 point 40k game versus Matt’s Blood Angels. I ran the army in the first picture above – two kitted Grey Hunters packs (one in a drop pod), a missile launcher Long Fang pack, Murderfang in a drop pod, Wolf Guard terminators, a twin Multi Melta Land Speeder, and Ragnar Blackmane + Wolf Guard Battle Leader and five Wolf Guard bodyguard. Matt’s list consisted of mostly mechanized infantry, along with a very scary Captain/Librarian unit in a Land Raider.
I deployed my Long Fangs in a corner missile installation. Surely with hard cover and a commanding view of the battlefield they would be able to rain krak and frag flavored death upon the barbaric Blood Angels?
The game started poorly for me even before I got my first turn, as Matt’s Furioso in a drop pod landed next to my Long Fangs and promptly shredded them with five rending wounds from its Frag Cannon. Sigh. Unfortunately, this would be an indicator of things to come.
The game started to slide downhill from there, with my other dropped units being picked apart methodically by Matt’s infantry. Ragnar and company dropped next to the objective and they were promptly charged by Matt’s HQ unit hopping out of their Land Raider. While Ragnar himself put up a good fight (and the Battle Leader’s Black Death taking care of much of the Blood Angel captain’s bodyguard) he eventually succumbed to the Blood Angel HQ’s fury.
With my units being shredded left, right, and centre, my Terminators never bothering to arrive from Reserves, and with Murderfang being wrecked the turn after his drop, I decided to concede. Matt played a great game and was able to isolate and pick apart my units one by one. It was a slaughter but I still learned some valuable things about drop pod armies; namely, that they’ll be standing out in the open for an entire enemy turn and will be probably be wrecked unless they’re in cover or out of range. I also chose less than ideal drop locations (right in front of the Blood Angel lines), and I guess I should have used the terrain better to shield my units for that turn after they hop out of the pod.
My second game was with Harry’s Night Lords, which he built out of the Betrayal at Calth box. They look absolutely gorgeous, with a nice deep blue and some great skull details on their Mk4 helmets. Harry did a great job of ensuring they didn’t look like Ultramarines, despite their blue/gold heraldry.
I wish I could say this game went differently for me, but alas, it ended up unfolding almost exactly like my first game with Matt. The Long Fangs got wrecked in their first turn by Harry’s Land Raider (from across the board), both Grey Hunter packs were blown to bits by a Vindicator or torrent fire from Harry’s Heldrake, and my Terminators again decided not to show up at all. I quickly got wrecked and decided to concede in Turn 3. Sigh.
The one positive thing I learned from both of these games is that a Grey Hunter pack’s firepower hopping out of a drop pod is nothing to be scoffed at. Two flamer shots and 15 boltgun shots is nothing to scoff at, and if they manage to survive the next enemy shooting phase they can rely on overwatch + counter attack + close combat weapons to hold their own in close combat.
I really need to rethink the entire drop pod based army. I really, really disliked having my army arrive piecemeal, allowing the enemy to isolate and destroy each piece as it landed. It would be different if my troops could charge after arriving from deep strike (which would give them some protection from shooting if they were stuck in combat) but drop pods clearly aren’t assault vehicles and so that isn’t an option. Perhaps the answer is Stormwolves, which are definitely assault vehicles…
Anyway, as a last game of the day Matt and I decided to play our inaugural 1300 point game of 30k, with my Luna Wolves facing off against his absolutely beautiful Emperor’s Children:
This game went a lot better for me, with the Sniper bolters of my Veteran Tactical Squads getting plenty of lucky rending hits on Matt’s Tactical Squads (although his Feel no Pain rolls were on point). I was able to whittle down his squads as they advanced and still be able to deal with his outflanking assault troops. The Tactical Support Squads (which were my Long Fangs in my 40k list) did well, pouring a lot of shots downrange, and then wheeling around and putting fire into the outflanking jump pack troops. Thankfully, the missile launcher squad didn’t get vaporized before my first turn and were finally able to actually put some missiles down range.
Our respective Praetors met in the middle, and after a few rounds back and forth my Praetor came out triumphant, slaying his counterpart. The melee really highlighted how awesome Paragon Blades and artificer armor really are in 30k, particularly with the command squad (who come with power weapons and artificer armor standard).
Elsewhere on the battlefield our two Contemptors met in mortal combat on the far edge of the board, with my Contemptor coming out on top thanks to having a close combat weapon whereas Matt’s did not, having chosen to go with the dual Kheres Assault Cannons instead. With his Contemptor and Praetor taken out Matt conceded, and I managed to eke out a win to close the day.
We both had a blast playing our first game of 30k and we both learned quite a bit as well. It has a bit of a different flavor from 40k – since everything is in power armor and both sides build from the same list, the game becomes less about army balance and countering certain armies, and more about strategy.
The Veteran Tactical Squads held their own, with their rending bolters dealing out quite a lot of wounds and still being able to hold their own in close combat – I must admit I got pretty lucky dice throughout the game, particularly on the rending bolter hits and with my Praetor’s invulnerable saves. Altogther it was an absolutely fun game with some epic moments, and it really got us even more enthused about 30k than we already were.
Big thanks to Matt and Harry for an awesome day of games!
Now to plot about what to do with my new Betrayal at Calth box…