So, last night I played a game of Epic Armageddon, and lost 2-0.
This was partly down to a bit of rules confusion and some bad dice, but mostly down to bad tactical decisions...
This was a 2k game between my EpicUK Death Guard (the brand new update with Rhinos!) against Ronan's (new club member) EpicUK Ulthwe Eldar.
Death Guard Retinue in Rhinos with Daemonic Pact (ability to summon daemons)
Death Guard Retinue with a Warlord, Daemonic Pact, a Defiler, some Plague Marines swapped for Havocs and an Icon Bearer (summoned daemons don't leave in the end phase of each turn)
Four Contagion Engine artillery
Plaguereaper superheavy tank
Nine lesser daemons
Ronan had (from memory):
Guardian host with support weapons and Wraithguard
Three Fire Prisms
Scorpion superheavy skimmer
Three Night Spinner artillery
Six Shining Spears with Exarch
Most of the formations that Ronan was using were ones that I'd used myself or in the case of the Spears had faced multiple times, so I had a pretty good idea of what they were capable of. My two biggest concerns were keeping out of reach of all those double Macro Weapon shots from the Guardian's Wraithguard attachments and that darn Scorpion! Death Guard depend pretty heavily on their 3+ armour save so a long-range two-shot weapon that denies the first armour save was a prime target.
My Zombie/Nurgling infestation arrived and was placed near the Scorpion in the hopes of beating it through shear weight of numbers and with a side-objective of trapping the Fire Prism formation in the corner of the board. Unfortunately Ronan won the strategy rating roll and got first activation, moving the Scorpion away and shooting some zombies.
The rest of the first turn consisted of lots of manoeuvring and very little effective shooting on either side, for example the Contagion Engines getting indirect templates on the Scorpion and part of one Guardian Host for a total of one blast marker on the Scorpion, two on the Guardians and no actual damage at all.
I don't remember the specific turns but the garrisoning Death Guard Retinue in the middle of the table kept spewing out lesser deamons and taking pot-shots with the Havocs and Defiler, unfortunately having to Advance most of the time to get firing positions instead of being able to Sustain and have an increased chance to hit. One turn's firing for that formation involved six dice on 5+ and two dice on 4+ resulting in a single hit.
The Scorpion was as deadly as I'd feared, breaking the Defilers in one turn and wiping them out in the next.
The Plaguereaper with it's mass of short-range guns and slow 15cm movement was tricky to use, especially as Death Guard can no longer March/triple move. It eventually got up in position to help support the smaller Death Guard formation when they got assaulted by the Falcons and Spears but took a blast marker when the Death Guard lost the assault. However the Spears then broke from casualties.
Foolishly, I didn't use the next activation to pound the Falcons into seven shades of Nurgly slime with the Plaguereaper on the grounds that the Falcons had activated and could be left for a while. Because, of course, that darn Scorpion had enough movement and range to hit the Plaguereaper twice, do a point of damage and break it - with the Plaguereaper never managing to rally for the rest of the game. The only thing it did was three firefight rolls in support.
in hindsight, the Plaguereaper should have stayed back near the Contagion Engines on my primary objective and gone on Overwatch each turn to shoot down anyone trying to sneak up on the Engines - with a three barrage point main gun, a Pus Cannon, three Heavy Bolters and three Lascannon it would have made a mess of anyone getting close...
My daemon-replete Death Guard formation ended up spread across the middle of the board and two of the enemy-half objectives so that they could put a last blast marker on the Flacons, breaking them, then in the final turn assaulted one of the Guardian warhosts that had been broken from previous fire. Unfortunately they lost by one and became broken, plus the Scorpion moved up to contest one of the two objectives.
The Fire Prisms finally worked out how to get past the zombies - engage them, hope not to fluff the assault resolution and then consolidate a full 35cm (darn Eldar!) away.
In the final turn they moved up next to my base objective and broke the Contagion Engines that had been guarding it. Victory to Ronan.
Bits we both got wrong was forgetting to roll for crits for the damage on the Plaguereaper and Scorpion. Although they were both damaged this would have favoured me slightly as the Plaguereaper only took one point of damage to the Scorpion's two, and the Plaguereaper never rallied from being broken, unlike that darn Scorpion!
At the end of the fourth turn we mis-remembered the rules for the Grand Tournament scenario (which could do with a whole blog post of it's own) and instead of rolling to see if the game continued we just played on. I can't remember who had how many broken formations at that point so it might not have made any difference.
One thing that would have made a substantial difference would have been me remembering that both Death Guard formations contained Leaders and would have ended up with fewer blast markers. This would have made a difference because the big assault against the Guardians would have been a draw, leading to another immediate round of fighting and another chance of beating and auto-destroying Ronan's biggest formation, so the game result would have been 2-1, not enough for a victory!
So, some rules mistakes, some (many?) tactical errors and some bad dice (failing at least one 2+ activation test including the Supreme Commander re-roll)... Not that I'm bitter, but those dice are going to go in the kitchen grinder if they aren't careful!
P.S. In related news, a mockup for the second Plaguereaper and the results of testing some Vallejo Sandy Paste: