Saturday, 4 February 2017

Conclave game report: Kill Team

It's hard enough to find time to paint these days let alone game, Schedules rarely match up and we all have various commitments to fulfill meaning that any time that we can fit in for a game is at a premium. Being an adult sucks sometimes.

Thankfully the opportunity presented itself recently for not just a game but a DAY of gaming, such a rare chance had to be exploited to the maximum. We arranged to squeeze in three games total. One Kill Team, one Second edition and one Seventh, A day of 40K.

I'd never played Kill Team before. I had no idea what to take, I knew Lee was taking Orks so I was likely to be outnumbered no matter what. I toyed with taking Genestealer Cult so that I would at least have a chance of  matching his numbers, but they are TOTALLY unpainted and I really had no idea how to go about putting a force together. Besides I was planning to use them for the Second Edition game. I knew I wanted to take something other than Space Marines, which I thought might be a bit dull,

Next up on my assembled but painted list was Necrons. Four Canoptex Wraiths might prove interesting, 3++ and phase shifting.  Problem is I moved not all that long ago and couldn't find them to save my life (they have since been located). Damn, there went my Seventh Edition list as well.

I still, didn't want to use Space Marines, they were fully painted but no, just no, i'm sick of using Space Marines for everything. I think it was Gangs of Commoragh that gave me the idea to use Dark Eldar, When they were first released I bought a massive army, but since they were treated so poorly in 7th they have languished in a box doing, well, not very much at all. They were also unpainted but I was very much running out of options here, I'm not a very prolific painter even if it is my favourite part of the hobby.

In the end I settled on ten Reaver Jetbikes. An Arena Champion and Three Blasters, (one for each of my specialists) took me to the 200pt limit. I had considered taking less Reavers and giving a few of them Cluster Clatrops to increase the amount of Hammer of Wrath hits but in Kill Team each model is an Individual and none would have more than 2 wounds so it would have been pointless. Besides, I was going to still be outnumbered. The advantage of the Jetbikes though is I could hopefully zip around and stay out of the Ork's range, picking them off to try to get them to break.  I certainly wasn't planning to get into combat.

I like little games of 40k and Killteam offers just that. On top of that as every model is a unit all on its own every dice roll would count, as Allen would later learn. This evokes games of second edition where every roll had significance.

I chose to play Orks as I have so many but have had few chances to try them out in seventh. As well as my own collection since last we played I have obtained a mountain of Ork models from a work colleague which has boosted the amount and type of units I have available. With this in mind I was ready to try out all manner of force compositions.

My first idea was to go pure Kommando led by Boss Snikrot who with two wounds and a modest amount of points would have fitted nicely in a Killteam. Unfortunately I could not find the model so that idea was out (till next time). Next I considered Boss Zagstruk and Da Vultur Skwadron but I couldn't find him either which was a shame as I wanted those Str10 hammer of wrath attacks in case Allen brought a vehicle along.

After considering a Killa Kan or two I decided to take a varied force and try to outnumber whatever Allen brought along. Having visions of glory with Kommandos and Stormboys dashed I decided to take a unit each. THe high speed of the Stormboys meant that I could get stuck in with the 3 attacks (4 on the charge) these boys had as well as their hammer of wrath attacks. On the charge they could be devestating. As I needed a leader and because only a big tough Ork would do I added a Nob with a power klaw to the unit. If Allen did bring any vehicles I wanted to be able to take them out sharpish.

With my Kommandos I had a unit with the option to infiltrate and get in close to any objectives. I took a rokkit launcher and gave that Ork Eagle Eye so he would stand a chance of hitting something. I rounded the force off with a unit of ten Gretchin and a Runtherd to give me numbers. They may only have grotblasters but every shot counts in Killteam so I was hoping to surprise Allen. My full list can be found at the end of this post.

We were using the Necromunda card terrain for a classic feel and Lee went first, he moved all his Orks forward apart from his Rokkit Launcher which was perched up atop of a building. That could be a problem, especially as he would be re-rolling to hit (weapon specialist). Lee was clearly going for the objectives. He could have them as far as I was concerned, my plan was to thin his numbers and swoop on the objectives later, preferably once he had broken. After all I would have to kill 12 of his models to reduce him to half strength. He only had to kill five.

His Rokkit launcher missed but the reroll paid dividends and he blew one of my Reavers out of the sky as I failed my cover save. First Blood went to Lee! Thankfully his Stormboyz acted more like Orks and rolled a triple one with their sluggas.

I had the numbers and was going to use them. Objectives were a priority but my plan was to make it look like the Stormboys were going for them but then keep going and charge the Reavers. While that was going on the Kommandos and Gretchin would follow up and consolidate my positions.

Night fighting could have done for my shooting which was a bugger as my rokkit Kommando managed to hit but out in the open as it was that Reaver stood no chance. Most of my boys were out of range only having sluggas and those that did missed. Ho hum, it is to be expected with Orks.

Right, time for revenge! I had planned to target Gretchin for an easy kill to get myself First Blood but that had gone, except... we were meant to be using Night Fighting! We hadn't taken that into consideration at the time and neither of us could remember the roll, so I rerolled the save and the Reaver came back. First Blood was mine to take.

But the trio of Reavers on the left all missed or failed to wound, and it was left to the four in the middle to blow away a Stormboy on the gantry getting me that Victory Point. My specialist with Fearless (at least he wouldn't be running away) managed to nail the Rokkit Launcher with his Blaster, that was a relief, threat eliminated. Only ten more kills needed to get Lee taking Break Tests!

The three Reavers on the right managed to take out the Gretchin's Runtherd as a bonus, every little helps after all. Nonetheless, killing three a turn just wasn't going to cut it... I used my Jetbike move to get back into cover as much as possible.

I'm too honest by far, letting Allen save his Reaver but we're playing for fun not for victory at all costs. Allen managed a few kills, Orks have paltry armour, but I could afford a few losses.

It was as Lee undertook his second turn that I realised I had completely forgotten to Rapid fire. Balls.

I'm honest but it's not my job to point out things like rolling all the dice you're entitled to, it's your job to remember that ;)

Lee's second turn consisted of charging his Stormboyz into as many Reavers as he could, after consolidating his hold on the objectives, I completely forgot to Overwatch (you can tell which of us re-read the rules the night before) and Lee was the one now using Hammer of Wrath attacks, taking out my Weapon Specialist that had Eagle Eye. I had a feeling this was going to hurt.

However, two of my Reavers actually managed to kill their opponents, the other died, pulled from his mount and another was crushed to bloody gibbets by the Nob with the Power
Claw. That was me with a Third of my force down. Still at least no one was stuck in combat so there was no need for me to Hit and Run.

I was looking forward to getting stuck in. I knew I would be hitting second once the Hammer of Wrath attacks were out of the way but those Dark Eldar hit surprisingly hard. As I said, every dice roll counts and I had not much in the way of saves to protect myself. Thank Gork (or possibly Mork) for my Nob (tee hee). Of course all that drama distracted Allen to what the Kommandos and Gretchin were doing.

Revenge! Again! I HAD to take out those Storm Boys or this was game over on turn 2. The two blaster toting specialists downed the Nob, That's Slay the Warlord for me! Elsewhere my reduced Kill Team managed to Kill all the Storm Boyz before getting back into cover.

Bit painful that, I had hoped my Nob would have survived but he was no better armoured than his boyz. If anything this shows how much Orks rely on mobs to see them through, they are an attrition army. One day we'll play a full sized game of Druchari versus Veridi Gigantus and that will have an entirely different outcome.

Turn 3 had Lee once again keep the objectives as his priority, with his fast hitting assault team gone, he was happy to take a pot shot with one of his Boyz, it was good enough though as another Reaver came crashing down.

Every. Dice. Roll. Counts. Bye bye Reaver. One more and Allen would need to start taking bottle checks.

I only had six Reavers left but this was my turn I was sure of it. I only needed to kill another couple of models to make Lee take break tests and with his remaining force consisting mostly of Grots I couldn't see them sticking around. It was time to be bold, decisive and stop skulking in the shadows. I moved into prime shooting positions and prepared to deliver the kill.

Except that I failed to kill ANYTHING, I either missed or didn't wound with the whole Kill Team and despite my jetbike moves back into cover I was horribly exposed. Bollocks. That was some truly horrific dice rolling, the Greenskins had obviously adapted to the poisons I was using.

Well that was lucky and certainly made up for me losing all my Stormboyz. You'd have thought these boys were painted blue. Had Allen's luck been in this could have been the end of the game pretty much but fortune is fickle and the match continued.

Lee's 4th turn saw his reduced force thankfully fail to punish me too much. The Grots failed to achieve anything and only another Marksman Ork Boy managed to take down another Reaver. I was now taking break tests.

Success, another casualty and in Allen's force every death counts as he has half the models he started with.

Which thankfully I passed, all being clustered round my Leader and using his LD of 9 to cover my whole Kill Team. Fortunate.

Elsewhere I finally managed to kill enough Orks to get Lee taking break tests, if the game went on... and just in case it didn't I moved my Jetbikes to contest every objective. Being bold hadn't worked for me last time but if I left Lee the objectives and the game ended it he would win 3-2.

As an Aeldari player I am well versed in the quandry of moving my jetbikes over to contest/claim objectives, not knowing if another turn was coming which would see your fragile units blasted away. Still, break tests would now kick in for my force and with no leader and most of my remaining troops with a measly leadership of 5 I could well see my force melt away fairly quick.

The game continued though, and Lee had to take break tests. Predictably three Grots and two Ork Boyz decided the fight wasn't for them anymore and legged it. His shooting was ineffective so he charged in. I Overwatched one Ork to death and he failed to do any damage so I used Hit and run to move away.

In small games like this my advice is to be bold. This is what I did, going for victory through decisive Orkish action. It didn't work out exactly how I would have liked and some of the Orks that ran were holding objectives, one which was too far away for me to do anything about so it at least focused my tactics.

My turn 5 break tests were just about all passed (I was too far spread to utilise my Arena Champions stats) and I gunned down another three Grots, Lee only had two models left to my four, it was looking good for me.

However, the last two Gretchin, were too brave (or maybe stupid) to run away. To make matters worse one of them even killed my Leader in combat! Super Gretchin. That wasn't supposed to happen. Another point for the Orks.

Hahahahahaaa. Millennia old gladitorial champion ended by a Gretchin. If he has a contract with the Haemonculi to be ressurected I'm not sure how he'd live this one down. Kill all the witnesses I expect. It was getting very close but I could still win.

My turn 6 had me still in a very good position, winning the game comfortably. However, the sight of my Arena Champion being pulled from his saddle by the diminutive Greenskin clearly unnerved my Kill team as the first two reavers ran away, including the one that had the objective all to themself. My victory was slipping away. Thankfully the last Jetbike stayed so Lee didn't win by default.

It was the Endgame and this was the position: Lee controlled one Objective with one Gretchin and the other was Contested. I had First Blood and Slay the Warlord and Lee also had Slay the Warlord. Currently it was a draw. 2-2.

So I had to take out one of the Gretchin, either would do. I chose the one controlling an objective. This was the last roll of the dice, literally. Thankfully my rolling didn't let me down and poisioned shards riddled the Gretchin killing him. Victory for the Dark Eldar!

See, every dice counts. Allen's Reavers scarpered despite having good leadership while my Gretchin remained. It really came down to the wire and there were lots of notable moments, great fun. I can see us playing more Killteam.

Damn right that was a lot of fun. Full of events and the unexpected just like a game should be. It's like a mix of Necromunda and 40K and is definitely something I could get into a little more. It also cries out for some aftergame phase, for leveling and the like. Maybe I'll work on that at some point.

As far as tactics go, I think it was fairly solid. A few awful dice rolls aside I did an awful lot better than I expected. The jetbike move was invaluable and allowed me to get back into cover in most instances. Had I remembered to rapid fire (and my Combat Drugs which I COMPLETELY forgot about as well) I might have secured a more comfortable victory.

I think Lee's Kill Team worked fairly well, I would have been tempted to take less Gretchin and more hard hitters though, A lot of his force just  sat on objectives and I think in a game like Kill Team you really need more of your force active. A few more Stormboyz would have seen me in all sorts of trouble. Then again, Lee's numerical superiority was quite telling and it took me a long time to break him down.

You see, large numbered Kill Teams are always going to do really well as each model is an individual unit meaning that apart from templates only one can be killed at a time. I have had it suggested to me that a Kill Team of 22 Pink Horrors would be good and in all honesty they would be pretty much unbeatable given the amount of wounds you would have to inflict to wipe them out (they are Fearless so you wouldn't be able to break them) Flamers or some other template weapon would really be your only hope. In addition grenades would be king in Kill Team one grenade throw per unit per turn doesn't matter when every one of your models is a separate unit!

So overall we like Kill Team a lot. In today's bloated 40K ruleset it was refreshing to play something that was quick easy and endlessly entertaining. Only needing a handful of models and much  more personal Kill Team gets two thumbs up from us and has a lot of potential.

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