I am conscious that I have not posted a battle report for a while. And whilst I have had some really fun games recently, this report is going to be based on my most disappointing games in months. Not because I want to have a moan, but rather to put down in writing what I learned. In the hopes that the writing it out process cements it in my head. This is the story of when I went up against Mike’s Custodes.
So this was the second official game in a narrative campaign me and my friend Mike were playing. Three different 1000 point lists, no named characters. The idea is that this gives us quicker games, allows us to forge our own stories and gives us focus on models to paint.
The mission was The Scouring, from the main rule book. Six objectives on the table, four of which are worth 2 victory points while one is worth three and one is worth one, randomly decided by a dice roll. The main thing is that you only score victory points for holding objectives at the end of the game. Secondary missions included the standard first strike, slay the warlord and line breaker.
Let The Battle Commence
Something that so rarely happens, I had first turn. Except, Mike had deployed well and nothing was in range. And, to be honest, I was very scared by the prospect of Custodes Jet Bikes storming down on me.
In any event, I made big mistakes very early in this game. In the lead up to the game, Mike had expressed that he thought my list was a chapter master away from being pretty damn competitive. But I knew that meant if I castled and formed a gun line. Which is often used as a bit of an insult about some armies at our club.
Now I should stress I knew Mike did not mean it as an insult, but I took it to heart a bit and wanted to prove a point. With this in mind, on turn two I started charging my units of Intercessors and Hellblasters out of the safety of cover and my deployment zone out towards the objective markers.
The Beginning of the End
Let’s get real for a moment. Custodes are incredibly tough to kill, and very hard-hitting when they get in to combat. With that in mind, you really should not feel bad playing to your strengths, or at the very least do not play into your opponent’s strengths.
Further, I should have also remembered the mission. You do not score Victory Points for the objectives until the end of the game, which is battle round 5 at the earliest.
I had absolutely no business running across the field on to objectives in turn two, running closer to Mike’s Custodes and inviting charges and combat.
The third mistake worth mentioning, even though it was actually the first mistake I made, was deploying the Hellblasters as a 10 man unit. This was largely done out of convenience when list building, but there was very little benefit in it. Hellblasters with the standard rapid-fire version of the plasma gun do not benefit from any particular stratagems. So unlike Intercessors, there are no CP cost savings to be had. The only noticeable effect of having a 10 man squad is that it makes failing morale tests easier.
Having stormed my Hellblasters off of terrain and over towards an objective marker, Mike teleported down his Wardens, out of sight of the Hellblasters. A really good charge roll, without any overwatch as they were out of sight, resulted in all three Wardens making it into combat. They absolutely decimated my squad, wiping out seven Hellblasters in close combat and forcing me into a morale check. Which I subsequently failed, of course.
I try not to beat myself up too much after a loss like this. I think I killed about two Custodes in three rounds. And my only survivors were my Primaris Ancient and Gravis Captain.
The most disappointing thing to me was that I had been playing much better recently. My decision making and target priority had been more on point than ever before. And I was enjoying games, even the ones I lost.
In this game, my mistakes were so obvious it was both a blessing and immensely frustrating. A blessing because it was clear what I did wrong. I did not have to spend long wondering what I could have done differently. Frustrating because I should not have been making these mistakes at this stage.
I am not a particularly competitive player, but I should be better than making these silly mistakes.
Because I always want to be honest with you, I didn’t enjoy this game. It wasn’t Mike’s fault, genuinely. He played well and had some good dice rolls. The disappointment was all self-inflicted. But it has been a reminder to not get carried away. I cannot forget the basics in any of my games.
I hope you enjoy the photos I have added this time. One of the benefits of the smaller lists is focusing my painting time. I did not want to post photos of a largely grey plastic army. But you can expect to see more photos in the future!