Well, there were a couple of expected and unexpected changes for our mission, as such things are wont to happen. Expected changes were in my army list, switching out the commissar, a grenade launcher and the assault weapons in my main command squad for a medic and an astropath. Unexpected changes were adding a 5th player and bumping the number of points per side up to 4000.
Now, I can deal with 3000 point games. It's a little cramped, but there are a manageable number of units on a 6x4 board. When we go to 4000 per side things get a little too hairy. I was actually forced to keep some units in reserve just to make sure that I could deploy my troops and not be completely murdered by blast weapons. This was ok, as I now had the astropath, but it did force me to make some really poor reserving decisions which were especially brought to light when the opponent forces seized the initiative.
I don't really have a battle report for this match as things were too hot and heavy to get away and detail different troop movements, but here it is in brief:
My side: Imperial Guard, Tau and Space Wolves.
Other side: Korsarro Khan Space Marines and Broodlord led Tyranids.
When I saw how many units the enemy was putting in reserve I smiled. With two masters of the fleet they would be coming in on 6+ on the second turn AND I would get to reroll the board edge that they outflanked onto. I informed my opponents of this before they went for reserves like a good boy, but they just smiled and nodded. I shrugged, and play commenced.
The broodlord and his retinue infiltrated to within striking distance of my lines and panic reigned. Both of my guard squads were mowed down in the first two turns thanks to the broodlord and fast moving bikes along with one of my lascannon teams. Without commissars they broke quickly, which was good as it allowed me more shooting.
After this initial break through the lines coalesced a bit more. The Space Wolves rocked it in close combat throughout the game, taking down TH/SS terminators, land raiders, vanguard veterans and genestealers with ease. Straken, on the other hand, failed to do jack, getting terrible rolls and was slaughtered after only taking 2 genestealers and a marine bike down with him.
The sentinels also failed as none of them were in the correct position to counter charge and their shooting was abysmal. Most of this was due to the sheer number of troops on the board, but I still probably could have placed them a bit better. The stormtroopers also failed miserably, missing with both meltaguns on a Predator's rear armor and were subsequently broken and destroyed by gaunts.
Things that worked out really, really well for me were the twin Masters of the Fleet. We managed to keep almost all of their reserves (except for two exceedingly lucky genestealer squads) off the board for almost the entirety of the game. Since this was large portions of both enemy armies they earned their points and then some. The melta vets continued to be awesome, taking down many a bike and a carnifex to boot, and not even breaking after losing 7 members of their squad. My one remaining lascannon team also performed admirably, making sure that the predator couldn't fire for most of the game and even finished off Korsarro Khan himself. It sucked that they missed BID almost every time, but they weren't a poor investment at least.
We decided to end the game on turn 4 as some of us had evening plans. Because of this, we decided that the units that did not make it onto the board due to the awesomeness of the Masters of the Fleet would not count for KP. When tallied up, the IG/Tau/Space Wolf alliance pulled ahead by one KP over the Marines/Nids. Technically a victory, but it felt like a hollow one to me.
I made a few key mistakes in this game. First was not putting Straken's squad out on turn 1. I really missed him as a counter-charger against the broodlord, and his flagbearer would have helped at least a few squads stay in the fight a while longer. Second was giving plasma guns to normal guardsmen and NOT using them in a BID-only capacity. I managed to get 4 shots off before they were murdered and none hit and 1 killed himself. If I want to use them in that capacity they need to be placed in reserve and come on when the MCs or marines get closer, so that their special weapon won't be wasted in a bloody turn 1/2 assault.
I think I will try the stormtroopers again in my next list (mostly because I want to use the damn models), but I think I am done with Straken. He just doesn't fit my play style and just isn't good enough in close combat to be worth the extra points and KP necessary to make him viable (stupid priest...). I'll miss the ability to punch through land raiders, but a 15 point powerfist and 5 point melta bomb will probably be enough in the future to ensure equivalent close combat potential.
Next time: Making the Punisher viable...