I have been trying to make more of an effort to play little toy soldiers. I went through a two month stretch where I couldn't seem to make an army list I liked. Despite (in my opinion) 10th feeling the best to play Marines (for me, anyway), it seemed I could never find the right balance of "stuff that kills other stuff" and "stuff whose job it is to do stuff during the game".

So I fell off the wagon, haven't been painting, etc. etc. But the only way to get better is to play more, so I figured I would just try and find something that didn't look terrible on paper, and roll with that.

This is what I opted for:

Detachment: Gladius Task Force


Adrax Agatone (85 points)

Apothecary Biologis (85 points)
-Enhancement: Fire Discipline

Captain in Terminator Armour (105 points)
-Enhancement: Artificer Armour

Lieutenant (80 points)
-Enhancement: The Honour Vehement


Aggressor Squad (240 points)
-Boltstorm Gauntlets

Bladeguard Veteran Squad (180 points)
Bladeguard Veteran Squad (180 points)

Scout Squad (65 points)
Scout Squad (65 points)
Scout Squad (65 points)

Terminator Squad (185 points)


Ballistus Dreadnought (140 points)

Land Raider Redeemer (260 points)
Land Raider Redeemer (260 points)

Because of the way we do cutoffs locally, this list was 10 points under, but nothing jumped out at me and said "pick me, pick me!"

The premise of this list is simple. You've got dual mounted threats in the Land Raiders, with the Boltstorm Aggressors and two units of Bladeguard in the other. The rest of the units are there to hold objectives and play the board.

It's weaknesses are pretty simple. Land Raiders are difficult to drive, there's no long range firepower, and once everyone gets out of said party buses, you take casualties extremely quickly.

Game 1 - v Ash (Tau) - Sites of Power, Chilling Rain, Hammer and Anvil

Ash, the proprietor of the excellent Piety and Pain, had what I understand is a reasonably conventional Tau list, circa late 2023 early 2024. Three riptides ("Triptide", as it were) two units of Breachers in Devilfish, a Crisis Brick with Plasma Rifles, two independent contractor Commanders with Cyclic Ion Blasters, and a bunch of support vehicles to spot with, including Tetras and Pirhanas.

I won the roll for first turn, sniped out a riptide, and generally did an ok job pressuring Ash off of the objectives. I was particularly proud of being able to rapid ingress a unit of terminators onto the central objective, which let me score many points and really reap the rewards of the pressure I was able to generate.

Unfortunately for me, Ash's crisis brick showed up, and I made a critical mistake by opting to try and go wide. This brought Ash's second unit of breachers into play (just as planned) and unfortunately I couldn't keep the momentum - Ash cleared all my dudes(tm) off of the objectives, and I ended the game with a Ballistus and a dream.

Result - Salamander Loss (42-59)

Despite this, though, I felt this was the best I played all day, in hindsight. I was told endlessly about how I was going to get annihilated (Ash is an excellent player and will be representing the ACT this year) but I held a lead until the final turn when I ran out of dudes and it swung back late.

It certainly convinced me that there was more play in my list, if I just didn't sperg out and get overconfident.

Foreshadowing is a literary device.

Game 2 - v Joel (Tau) - Crucible of Battle, Chilling Rain, Priority Targets

Joel had a very similar list to Ash, trading the Crisis brick, Tetras and Pirhanas for Shadowsun, Pathfinders, and a pair of Hammerhead Gunships (one piloted by DJ Longstrike)

The terrain setup, combined with the deployment, meant the objectives were out in the open, and unable to be controlled from the safety of a ruin (which is not standard practice, with the exception of the center objective.)

My eyes lit up and the prospect of seeing so many vehicles, and so I opted for Bring it Down and Cleanse. Of course, I had failed to recognize that all of the objectives were in the open, making cleansing two every turn an incredibly dangerous prospect.

Compounding that error, I decided to put my (metaphorical) nuts on the table, and deployed my both of my Redeemers in spots that were very easy for DJ Longstrike and his friend to get to.

So, naturally, I lost the roll for first turn, and instantly started the game minus one Land Raider.

It is at this point I would like to reference this conversation, which took place on Friday:

Yes, Hammerheads do miss. But they only miss once, when I needed them to miss twice.

I did my best to try and reign in my massive fuckup, but unfortunately I traded the Aggressor brick for six wounds on a Devilfish, and the Bladeguard spent most of their time in the top part of the board, trying not to get killed by Breachers, Riptides, and Shadowsun.

They were initially successful, but the volume of fire from Bluemangroup did for them in the end, and despite a whopping 17/20 for Bring it Down, I only managed 8/20 for Cleanse. That, and my inability to stay on any objective for longer than half a turn ensured Joel would be walking out of the Thunderdome with a max-points win.

To his credit, he played extremely well. Joel is a very careful and considered player, and the net result of that was he saw me coming a mile away, and invited me to take a seat.

Result - Salamander Loss (60-90)

Game 3 - v James (Black Templars) - Search and Destroy, Chilling Rain, Take and Hold

James was very new to the game, but had definitely done his homework. He was using a state-of-the-art Ironstorm Spearhead list, complete with a pair of Repulsor Executioners, a pair of Gladiators, Dreadnoughts, and everything in between.

His army was also very pretty (it won best painted), so I felt like he was the real winner.

My brain at this point was reduced to molten slag, so I just told James to take his time with it all, and try not to rush. Because I certainly wasn't going to.

Unfortunately for James, as per usual, my dice (which had been above average all day) turned to gold, his turned to shit, and I took full advantage. I traded a unit of Bladeguard for his Repulsor Executioner(s), killed his Inceptor and Assault Marine reserves with the Aggressor Brick, and dumped my Terminator unit in his backfield, which proceeded to 100-0 his Gladiator(s).

We ended up calling it at the bottom of turn 3 with my Bladeguard about to kill his second RepEx and my Aggressors in the middle of the board.

Result: Salamander Win (46-13)

So two losses and a win, good enough for the bottom third of the draw. That second game in particular killed me - a high watermark of the end of the first, hoping to submarine ended up with the submarine getting cut in half and lost with all hands. And just as predicted, my only win came against the freshest player at the event. Yeesh.

Still did better than the Raiders, though.

I need more time with the list, particularly learning to drive, and I think there might need to be some adjustment - the Aggressors had to shoot at hard targets all day, and did very little fighting. With Custards getting put through the floor and vehicles in the ascendancy, it might be time for my Eradicators to tag in.

There are some other options I'm musing on as well, but that's another story, for another time.

Catch you next time,

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