Sunday, December 05, 2010
Learning from our losses
I had the opportunity to play several games this weekend with my Blood Angels DoA list. Out of the four games (versus dark eldar, Space Marines, Salamander and Tau) I only managed to win one game (versus Space Marines). The rules for the mission objectives were not followed correctly during the game versus Salamanders which made it a fairly easy win for my opponent but that was an honest oversight on both of us so no foul called there - I still wasn't happy with the performance of my army regardless and felt I could have played better. Today the loss versus Tau - they are considered by many to be an easy win against with jump heavy Blood Angels - my opponent played a great game though and barely won using some very shrewd movement in the sixth turn. I don't feel that bad against the dark eldar (old codex) - it's a tough matchup and I think I played it the best I could and my dice that game were generally very kind to me.
So here is my standard list:
Librarian/Epistolary (Sanguine Sword & Unleash Rage), jump pack, hand flamer
Honor Guard/Chapter Banner, jump packs - pair of lightning claws, thunderhammer & Stormshield, 2x lightning claw & Stormshield
Sanguinary Priest/jump pack, power sword
Furioso dreadnaught/pair of Blood Talons, heavy flamer, extra armor
10x Assault Marine/meltagun & flamer, power fist & infernus pistol
10x Assault Marine/meltagun & flamer, thunderhammer & stormshield
Stormraven/twin-linked lascannon, twin-linked multi-melta, extra armor
5x Vanguard Veterans/jump packs, 4x bolt pistol & power sword, power fist & stormshield (sergeant)
I have been playing this list a lot and have won two RTTS and a Best General award locally so I know it's a solid list. Even with this weekend's poor performance I don't feel it's a matter of going back to the drawing board to re-design my army.
Anytime we lose in a fair game this presents us with an opportunity to learn how to be a better player. So I have the opportunity to learn a lot here. :P I took myself to task and asked myself honestly why did I lose the three games. Like I said while the match versus the Vulkan Marines was botched due to not properly placing the objectives still I know I could have played better and it's always important to recognize this when it happens. We can blame the dice (Salamanders), mission rules (Salamanders again - heh) or bad matchups (dark eldar) but you're not going to improve your game and could very well make the same mistakes again. Looking over the games I realized that the biggest mistake I'm making is putting most of my big eggs in one basket - i.e., typically I start every game with the Librarian, his Honor Guard and the Furioso all embarked in the Stormraven plus I place the Stormraven in reserve. It's funny but it just seems like the Stormraven never comes in until turn 3 or 4. That's a huge chunk of my army I'm not playing with for a turn or two. Thinking back I realize that I do this for the following reasons:
1) Protect the Stormraven.
2) Protect the Librarian, his Honor Guard and the Furioso.
3) Ability to position the Librarian, his Honor Guard and the Furioso where I want them so they deliver a knock out punch versus my opponent's heavy hitters/deathstars.
Looking back on past games I realized that most often I have played against armies that feature deathstars. So I am using a general strategy that does not necessarily work well versus armies such as Tau and others that don't have a deathstar unit. It would serve me better versus armies such as these to simply hold the Librarian and his Honor Guard in reserve not embarked in the Stormraven and simply deep strike them into the table. They'll come in sooner due to the DoA rule and I'll have another unit that is very strong in close combat available in the early to mid game to support my assault Marines. I can see know this could have made a big difference in my losses versus Salamanders and the Tau.
Note that my losses were both games using objectives as the primary win condition. I've only got two scoring units and I rarely ever combat squad my assault Marines. They have to carry the brunt of a lot of shooting and close combat so they're going to takes some casualties... So they could definitely use some more support besides the Sanguinor. I tend to expect a lot from each unit in my army - I can't afford to camp either assault squad on an objective the turn they arrive from reserve and simply hold it the entire game.
I also noted the two games I lost my Stormraven was from shots into its rear armor - landspeeder with multi-melta (Salamanders) and piranha with fusion blaster (Tau) late in those games. Simply by better positioning I could have forced those shots on side armor 12 and it would have only been glanced.
Now of course the Furioso should almost always be embarked in the Stormraven to start the game for the many reasons I have discussed elsewhere. Not embarking the Librarian and his Honor Guard in the Stormraven means that the skimmer can play a better role as highly mobile long range fire support - that would have been huge versus the Tau.
Finally as I so often say it's so important to closely read the mission rules prior to deployment and make sure you clearly understand them. This cost me a win and I have no one to blame but myself. I suppose this is just one of those things you have learn/re-learn the hard way. >.<
So we live and can learn from our mistakes if we are honest with ourselves. I am looking forward to future games when I can implement these new found strategies and see how they hold up on the table.