Friday, November 4, 2011

Hive Fleet Sharktopus – The Second Course

So it's been awhile since I've had a chance to play some 40k. In a somewhat ironic twist, as soon as I put together an army the place that everyone played at ceased to be there. But even if we don't have a designated store to play at we all still have our armies so this past weekend my brother and I made it a point to get together and play another game.

To recap last session, we played a 500pt game of my Tyranids against his Grey Knight Space Marines. I won the game with just a few models left and mostly on a technicality since I happened to control one of the objectives completely on accident.

This time we upped the stakes to 1000 points, a much larger game. Last time I took my HQ and three different troops units but this time, especially with so many more points, I knew I wanted to try out some of the other cool stuff that Tyranids could do.

For my HQ I kept my Hive Tyrant with two sets of scything talons. I liked him a lot last game, so I paid a few extra points to give him an Armored Shell which game him an armor save on anything but a roll of a one. For the first of my two mandatory troop choices I knew I was sticking with the Genestealers. They are just so well rounded I could not imagine playing without them. I bumped the unit up from the 8 I had last time to a full unit of 20. I also took the Hormagaunts that I took last time and filled them out to a full unit of 20 as well.

I dropped the 3 Tyranid Warriors and replaced them with a unit of 3 Raveners outfitted the same way with one set of talons plus claws. Raveners are a Fast Attack choice and I had visions of them streaking across the battlefield and tearing into the enemy. For my Heavy unit I took one Carnifex. These monstrous creatures are basically the tanks of the Tyranid army. Twice the height of a Space Marine, covered with armor from head to toe, and with the twin sets of scything talons like my Tyrant. I wanted to get him into combat as quick as possible so I spent a few points to give him Frag Spines which let him assault through cover with no penalty. To round out my army I wanted an Elite choice and took a pair of Zoanthropes. These guys are basically big floating heads with little snake bodies behind them. They have awesome psychic abilities and are actually a ranged unit unlike everything else in my army. They also have a connection to the Hive Mind and are Synapse Creatures so they gave me the ability to spread my army out a bit more instead of having everything around my Hive Tyrant.

Across the table from me was a huge robot power armored thing, two tank transports, a group of 5 guys in heavy power armor, and 1 guy by himself which I think is the same leader I faced last time. I'm not looking forward to facing that guy again because I only beat him last time when his brain exploded due to the warping affect my guys have on the psychic power source. I'm also not liking the huge power armor robot thing. It is way bigger than even my Hive Tyrant which is totally not fair. Hive Fleet Sharktopus should not have a Napoleon complex.

Setting up the mission we rolled for the Annihilation mission type. This is exactly what I wanted as it means that when the game is called we get 1 point for each unit that is wiped out. I did have 6 unit to my brothers 5 but a few of mine were very large and completely wiping them out would take a lot longer. For the set up we rolled Spearhead which means that we split the table in to quarters and set up on opposite corners of the board.

The set up really didn't favor my army, setting up at an angle like that really cramped my style so to speak while the ranged army was able to dig in pretty well. I basically split my army in to three divisions. I had my Genestealers on their own since they can operate independently, then I had the Zoanthropes escort the Carnifex while the Gaunts and the Raveners hung out with my Tyrant. But at the beginning of the game everything was just sort of smooshed together.

Long story short I ran my horde of Tyranids at the army of Grey Knights and at the end of the day there were 4 Knights left standing. I'm giving the win to my brother but we messed up and forgot to count the turns, we should have played 5 turns and then figured who had more points.

But, since I was playing to learn and I learned a lot it was still a good game. The main thing that I learned is that I need to know what my guys can do and I need to use those abilities. I totally forgot that my Tyrant is a monster psychic and didn't make any of his ranged psychic attacks the entire game, so all I even destroyed with him were the two transports. I also didn't make any use of my set up abilities. Rather than being all smashed together in my starting area I could have used the Infiltrate ability of my Genestealers to set up anywhere on the board and could have used the Deep Strike ability of the Raveners to have the burrow up behind the enemy lines sometime later in the game. As it was, setting them up behind all my cannon fodder, they didn't really feel like “fast attack” troops to me. They do have an ability that helps them move through difficult terrain, but unfortunately since we were playing at my brothers house we didn't have any difficult terrain. Which brings me to another point, I need to know what an upgrade will actually do for me before I spend the point on it. I bought the Frag Spines for my Carnifex so he could assault through cover but, again, there was no cover on the table so those points were wasted.

I was really surprised how awesome the Zoanthropes turned out to be. I'm definitely going to pick up another one so I can field a full unit of three. I'm also going to try out some of my shooty stuff next time Hive Fleet Sharktopus goes to war. I just need to gather some genetic material to rebuild my army.

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