Saturday, February 27, 2010

Escalation League, Round 2: Thoughts on Air Cav

The second round of our Escalation League at Universe Games in Minneapolis has started, so here's my 750 list:

Psyker Primaris
Veteran Squad, 3 Grenade Launchers
Veteran Squad, 3 Flamers
Veteran Squad, 3 Meltaguns
Vendetta with Heavy Bolters, 3 twin linked lascannons
Vendetta with Heavy Bolters, 3 twin linked lascannons
Valkyrie with Multiple Rocket Pods and Multilaser

This list is very killy. If the Vendettas are not dealt with early in the game they will take down every vehicle within sight and then turn their fury on the poor bloody infantry. The Valkyrie hasn't really knocked my socks off quite yet but can serve as a fast, expendable transport for meltagunners to get close to their target, as well as give me much needed insurance against hordes.

I played a couple of games today, but neglected to do battle reports of them. Just a brief overview of each of them may give you a glimpse as to the reasons why I didn't record them:

Game 1 against Dark Eldar, Annihilation. He has mostly raider spam with two taloses stuck in there. He deploys, I reserve. My Vendettas come on early, destroy two raiders while my grenade launcher squad with Psyker annihilate his grotesques. His shooting knocks a lascannon off of one of my Vendettas. My Valkyrie comes on, and my shooting kills two more raiders, a Talos, a squad of Warriors and all but eliminates another squad of warriors. He concedes at 6-0 on turn 3.

Game 2 was against Space Wolves. Annihilation. Still mostly foot, with 1 rhino and 1 dreadnought with twin linked lascannon. He goes first, I reserve everything. His rhino comes on turn 2. My Vendettas come on turn 2 but fail to kill the rhino (as I was stupidly trying to hide one of them from missile launcher fire). His dread comes on, blows up a Vendetta and kills the squad inside. Valkyrie comes on, I immobilize the dread, he blows up another Vendetta and the squad inside (with the Psyker!) breaks, failing 3 consecutive leadership tests to rally before running off the board. I eventually kill the Dread, but concede at 5-1.

Game 3 was against Eldar. Annihilation. Dawn of War. He goes second and we both reserve everything. My Valkyrie and Vendetta turboboost on. His falcon, guardian squad and double EML war walker come on but some how fail to scratch my birds. My planes return fire and explode the Falcon and War Walker. His Serpent comes on, yet still I hang untouched in the sky. Second Vendetta comes on, wrecks the Serpent. I spend the rest of the game calmly shooting up the Guardians.

I really hope that these games are not harbingers of what's to come, but I think they will be. Everything comes down to just a few dice rolls- if someone can manage to break my birds, I lose. If I can get even a few shots off before that happens I win. If my shots don't connect, I lose. If they fail to scratch my modest armor, I win.

There's no real need for extensive tactics in this list- if I go first, I deploy, scout up and kill everything. If I go second and there's no where to hide, I reserve, come on and attempt to kill everything.

Maybe it will be different in an objective game, but at least right now the Air Cav list just doesn't seem fun. It's all about how much damage I can cause before return fire strikes me, and praying to God that if they do break my armor they don't roll a 4+.

There is no back up plan if things go south and I don't have to adapt to the opponent's strategy- the Valkyrie is too limited to target anything but infantry and the odd light tank while the Vendettas simply target whatever is a threat to them and are good enough that I don't have to worry for long. It's either too late or time for a victory dance at that point.

I realize I've probably said the same thing over and over again, but I wanted to make sure that my point got across. It's a good list and has tons of killy power against all lists, but just isn't fun.

Hopefully next round will be a bit more fun, but for now I have some very anticlimactic and swingy battle to fight. If anyone has some advice as to how to make the Air Cav more entertaining, I would love to hear the advice. The strains of "Ride of the Valkyries" are fun, but simply flipping a coin to see if I dominate or am crushed just isn't my style.


Anonymous said...

Sooo, if your not having fun playing this list, why are you doing it?

Dverning said...

The problem is really a combo of your style of list and the size of game. You're taking a limited number of models and they're kinda fragile when hit with actual anti-tank.
In turn, most players don't have much anti-tank at 750 since you don't expect to see many tanks. So the number of shots they have on you are minimal.
3 V's in 750 is overwhelming. If you get the alpha strike and pop their anti-tank, you'll probably win. But if they can weather your fire or get the jump on you, you'll probably lose.
But 3 V's in 1750? That's nothing. You should be talking 12+ tanks at that level and the ability to deal with such.
What I'd suggest is either playing a more mixed list that isn't so vehicle reliant... or waiting and playing larger games.

Col. Hessler said...

I would take your current list and try replacing your Valkyrie with some other element from the FOC. Keep experimenting until you find a comfortable balance between winning and fun.

Dverning has a good point as well. Look for some bigger battles that will offer a challenge to your list.


Max said...

@ all three: thanks for the tips. Yeah, I probably went overboard on the whole Valk thing, but I really wanted to try out full Air Cav for once. As it is I am stuck with the list for the rest of the 750 pt round, but my 1k list will be a departure from it, and hopefully for the right reasons.

Besides, then I can run two Hellhounds can't I?