It's a new dawn, it's a new day, and it's the Emperor's Will. 'Ave it! Having not been particularly impressed with my performance in day 1 of the GT I came into day to with much greater determination. My objective, avoid coming last. I knew coming into the 4th game that it was now or never. The Emperor's Will is by far my strongest mission, and with Kill Points and the Scouring - both weak missions for me - coming up, this was a game I had to win. The deployment was Vanguard Strike.
My first thought when I saw my match up, I was pretty pleased. Space Marines. When I saw the army, I was still confident, but it was a pretty strong list for this mission.
My opponent's army was generally based around flyers, with 2 Storm Talons and a Storm Raven, he then had 40 tactical marines, perfect for camping objectives, a Vindicator, to stop me from getting close to it, and a Thunderfire Cannon, and a Chaplain in a squad of Thunder Hammer Storm Shield Terminators as a beatstick. The board itself was also quite Line of Sight restricting, some of the terrain pieces were so big that they were actually taller than his Storm Raven on its flyer base.
My opponent picked the board side, and chose the one directly opposite the corner with the least cover. Naturally, whilst all of the other 3 were pretty dense. Unfortunately my increase in game concentration meant that I got lazy with my camera.
My opponent then made a big mistake, we won the roll off for first turn, and then gave it to me. I think he realised afterwards and tried to seize but it didn't work. I realised that he could strafe me off my objectives with his flyers if I went all aggressive with the blob and Grey Hunters, so I went into defensive stances, pushing my objective a little further forward than normal to allow me to do some damage but not so far forward that I was in danger of Vindicator death. I now had about 60 scoring bodies piled around my objective, and went for the win on First Blood. Long Fangs on each flank with the best possible Line of Sight and the Manticore at the back flanked by my Rhinos to protect side armour.
He uses his Techmarine on his Thunderfire Cannon to bolster the Ruin in front of his objective, which I wouldn't have done as I could have just run my Grey Hunters into there out of the Drop Pod, hunkered down and called it a day as he's unlikely to shift me with shooting, and he won't want to charge me. He then puts his Thunderfire opposite my leftmost pack of Long Fangs, putting the Techmarine in front to tank the wounds, although he's still in a ruin so it's still reasonably safe. He then puts his Vindicator behind another ruin, out of sight of the Long Fangs, a tactical squad on the objective, a tactical squad in the Stormraven, a tactical squad in a Rhino and a tactical squad in the Thunderfire's ruin with a Lascannon.
Turn 1 begins. I cast up Telekine Dome from my Primaris Psyker on the blob to get a 5++ save in case the Vindicator comes for me, although I've spread out anyway. I also successfully Prescience the Manticore and that's all I manage to do. I go straight for First Blood though, the Drop Pod comes down, and this is the only time that this is effective all tournament. It lands near the Vindicator, although it does block my right Long Fang pack's LoS to the opposing objective, the Meltagun comes out and blows up the Vindicator.
The Manticore fires at the Tactical Marines on the objective, halves their numbers but because their sergeant's still alive they pass morale on a 9. The Long Fangs then go for the Thunderfire Cannon, one squad goes after the Techmarine, hoping to kill him but he passes all of his saves. The other squad however, on the right, is closest to the cannon itself, and kill it pretty handily.
At this point I'm feeling quite comfortable, I have first blood and he'll struggle to wrestle my objective off me, he can get linebreaker but only if the game ends.
In his turn, he absolutely shreds my Grey Hunters that have dropped in, leaving just the Meltagun, but because I've neutered his firepower he's waiting on the flyers.
I continue the alpha strike, a Lone Wolf manages to charge the Techmarine running along the board and kills him, the other makes for the objective. The Manticore kills the Rhino and a couple of guys next to it including the Plasma, they then fail their Morale check but roll a 3 for their run. Unfortunately for my opponent he's right next to the board edge and only 2" will do. The Long Fangs continue to chew through the Marines in the ruin.
In his turn, he gets 1 of his flyers (the Stormraven is escorted by the Stormtalon) and so only a Stormtalon comes on, however it does stun the Manticore. The Stormtalon is then shaken in the next turn by the right Long Fangs but still manages to kill the Manticore in the next turn, before a Guardsmen with his Grenade Launcher downs it. However, his Terminators also arrive. I think his placement of these was a little bit of a mistake as well, I would have dropped next to my rightmost Long Fangs, beaten them to death and played for Linebreaker, but instead he opted to try to block my Lone Wolf (the one with no casualties to his name). Although he does wound him, it's with Bolt shells, as the Terminators scatter into some impassible terrain, mishapping.
They don't die, instead I get to place them, and so place them directly infront of my Guard blob. This is the only point in the whole game in which it moves, as they concentrate up, I cast forboding just in case it goes wrong, Prescience and Telekine Dome go up, and I shoot them to bits, leaving just his Chaplain with a wound, who takes a Grey Hunter's Bolter to the face and dies.
In short, my Lone Wolves don't manage to contest his objective as they are killed by his flyers, and many Bolt shells, although he only has about 5 of his marines remaining, but they don't run off after being mowed down by the Long Fangs. I then have my objective, First Blood and Slay the Warlord, leaving me with a 5-3 victory, had it gone to turn 6, it would have been 5-0, but it doesn't make any difference to me how many my opponent scores so I didn't mind either way. Nice guy though, but my initial alpha strike surpassed even my expectations.