Battle Report 11/20/18 - A Slippery Slope

Faction: Rebel

Point Value: 800

Army:

  • Leia Organa (Esteemed Leader)

  • Luke Skywalker (Force Push, Force Reflexes, Emergency Stims)

  • 2x Fleet Troopers (Extra Trooper, Scatter Gun)

  • 4x Rebel Troopers (Z-6 Trooper)

  • 2x Rebel Commando Strike Teams (DH-447 Sniper, HQ Uplink)

Enemy List: Veers (Commanding Presence, Emergency Stims), 3x Stormtroopers (DLT-19, Extra Trooper), 1x Snowtroopers (Flame Trooper, Extra Trooper), 1x Speederbikes, 1x E-Web (Barrage Generator) 1x AT-ST (88 Twin Blaster)

Setup: Recover the Supplies, Battle Lines, Clear Conditions

Quick Recap:

We played at a store I had never visited before. The shop had premade terrain for Warhammer which we really liked the look of - six 2x2 squares which fit together to make a raised plateau in the center. The change in height across the board looked like a good idea when we set it up, but ended up being a pain in ass in play. The raised area had a gentle slope all the way around on which no terrain would sit, and the board itself was a hard, slick plastic. Combined this meant that a good amount of the board was miserable for placing minis on. Troopers would slide and shift on the board, and the AT-ST was a lost cause. In a few cases we had to proxy its location with deployment markers and remove it from the board - it was well within the 45 degree rule, but kept sliding down the plastic hills.

With the updates this week to Key Positions, I was less worried about blue, so I added HQ Uplinks to my sniper teams. I had previously dropped these upgrades to get a 20 point bid. This did cede blue to the other player as I was at 800 exactly. I prefer going second on placement usually as I prefer to place my commanders last - it usually stresses my opponent to now know where those two are going and often makes them over cautious hiding their units from a possible round one bombardment. 

Still, my opponent got his pick of board sides with blue, and he chose well. His chosen side provides some slight advantages for Recover.  

In deploying the objectives for Recover, my opponent made what I feel was a big mistake. His first box he tucked safely out of line of sight, but for his second he placed the box out in the open, in the middle of the board. It was more or less exactly between both of us. I asked him about this after the game and he said he thought it needed to be  range 2 of his first box. A costly misunderstanding, as this put 4 boxes in range of my troops, with two safely tucked away for me to grab with no contention and two additional option. So no battle over a single box in center - I could send troops to two boxes and divide his attention.

My opponent sent his three heaviest units right down the center. Speeder bike unit, E-Web and AT-ST all marched up towards center to blast my units going after the center boxes. This put a lot of pressure on me, as I was committing a good number of my troops to these boxes. The two supply boxes I had placed were safe, so I really only needed a single rebel trooper unit to take each and hide. The rest I could commit to the two in middle, but they were facing down a lot of dice each round.

Round one was scary. The single speederbike unit was my primary target I wanted to pick off first - it was a low health threshold rolling white dice which could be on my side of the table killing snipers really quickly. I rolled poorly on my Coordinated Bombardment though, scoring only a single hit (event with the aim token) which was blocked by my opponents roll. Compulsory + move + shoot with a Veers aim token killed a sniper unit round one. The AT-ST, also with an aim from Veers, was able to move then shoot at range 4 to remove my second sniper team. Losing those units so early rattled me, and almost had be panic and realign my strategy on the fly.

Starting from round 2 thought it started to run smoother. The bikes compulsed into two standby units — goodbye. My opponent also pushed too many of his trooper units towards his safe box in round 1, so that by round 2 when it became clear I was grabbing and moving my boxes in the opposite direction, he had to redirect. He lost at least one whole round getting his troops moved to join his heavy/support units in fending me off the middle boxes, and by then I had a good hold on center. They as well would move into center just to hit a standby from a unit tucked around a corner, preventing him from sniping the standby off with suppression.

His AT-ST also ended up too close. Its generally good to get an AT-ST in close, but in this case I was able to move my box runners around quickly enough that he kept needing to pivot the unit to deal with threats to objectives. This which reduced its efficiency a lot.

I ended the game with three boxes to his one. I should have had all 4, but I got greedy with Luke, and instead of having him grab the last box and run, I had him charge and kill the AT-ST. This removal of the heavy happened too late to really impact the rest of my game, and having that extra box would have been a smart safety to include, just in case something else went terribly wrong.

What Went Wrong:

Losing Priority Units. My two sniper units got destroyed in round 1, before they had a chance to do any damage.

Mistake: There was no line of sight blocking terrain within move 2 of the deployment zone, so I set my snipers up into heavy cover where they had a good sight on the objective supplies. Turn one I used HQ Uplink to get an early shot / suppression from both  (I manages to double blank even with an aim token). This aggressive move to prioritize damage over defense meant that when my opponent moved his speeder and AT-ST in round 1, they were able to both lay down enough damage that even with heavy cover I lost both units. Not a good use of 108 points.

What I should have done: Sniper units are usually way back and well hidden, using their unlimited range to stay out of danger. This afford me the luxury of aim + shoot every round without anything to fear but other sniper teams. Battle lines on a map with mostly scatter terrain available in my deployment lost me this benefit. I should have prioritized safety in round 1 - use my HQ uplink to trigger the unit and double move into safety where I could keep a single unit out of sight from attack. Two more rounds of sniper fire would have reduced a lot of late game stress from Veers.

What I Learned:

Things go wrong. Keep a Level Head. I won this game, but some bad rolls on my part and good rolls by my opponent had me worried in round 1. Despite my best planning, I was looking as a terrible first round and an AT-ST which was able to start shooting at me right away. I started to get panicky, and rethink my strategy. Should I Switch up my plan? Start shooting at the AT-ST and remove that threat? Divert Luke from box collection to clean up the heavy damage units pushing into center?

It turns out, the best plan was the one I already had. I was not facing a list I had previously experience with. I had lost important units early. I had an unlucky bombardment from Leia. All of this cause a player to fixate - to look obsessively at what is going wrong and not what is still in their favor. In my case, I had lost both sniper teams but we were still tied on activations. I had two supply boxes in base contact at the end of the round to his one. I was better positioned to grab two more. There was much good as bad.

Stopping to think the next two rounds through helped clear my head and get me back to what was important - focusing on my strategy and the objective. It worked. I kept to the plan and won.

List Efficiency: This ‘learning’ is still a work in progress, but as this game was the first where the issue really hit me I wanted to discuss it.

If you are playing Legion competitively, you should be focusing 100% of your attention on the objectives and what it takes to secure them. Every unit you pick needs to be pulling its weight, where in this case it’s weight is its point cost. For many of the objectives, players end up with one or more ‘safe’ objectives - for example the two boxes you placed in Recover the Supplies, or the Key Position you place.

In almost every game I played, I found myself holding these ‘safe’ objectives with a fully fleshed out trooper squad. 26 points of Z6 are just sitting behind a LOS blocking wall, dodging and standing by every turn. That’s 26 points that could be used somewhere else to keep my units in play alive, or give me extra push to win out that contested objective.

I have not found the sweet spot yet - too little attention put in and I risk losing these safe objectives from flanking or quick moving units. However, since making the changes to tighten my list up, I have already seen a change in my efficiency, in the form of an 11th activation.