After my lesson against the Necrons, I played another 750 point game against the Space Marines. I'm not sure if it was because I was playing against an army I knew or because I was playing against a newer gamer but I actually thought out some tactics and put them to use.
Seeing the Jump Pack Librarian and 10 Assault Marines across the board, I realised that I wanted them split up from their Tactical Squad and Vindicator fire support. By placing my Objective on my opponent's side of the board I gave him the decision - keep them near the Objectives but risk me shooting them up from across the board or send them off to attack on their own.
Since I didn't have first turn I decided to keep everything in reserve. I find keeping units in reserve in a Spearhead deployment can give you lots of options about where to bring the units on in reaction to what your opponent does. In this case, once again I wanted to see what those Assault Marines and the Vindicator were going to do.
Drop Pod Assault
The Dreadnought had one main target - the Vindicator. I knew that if I could stop it shooting then there was nothing else in the army that could really hurt my Dreadnought and he could rampage through the army at will. Well, he managed to do enough to stun it which was good enough. In fact I managed to keep it shaken or stunned all game apart from one round (well, until I blew the gun off it) In my opinion, this is the key with vehicles like a Vindicator; you don't need to destroy them, you just need to keep them from shooting.
I was completely shocked when Dave said that he was going to charge my Dreadnought with his Assault Marines. With no Power Fists they never really stood a chance, needing 6s to hit and then 6s just to glance. Even with Preferred Enemy in the first round the odds are very small. Then to compound matters he charged in his Tactical Squad. This meant that both squads were locked in a fight to the death. The Assault Marines couldn't escape because they were Fearless and the Tactical Squad couldn't even use Combat Tactics to leave the fight because they were too near to the board edge. In retrospect I should probably have tried to kill the Chaplain first since if the Assault Squad had failed a Leadership test they would have run off the board in exactly the same way the Tactical Squad eventually did. However, at the time, I backed my Dreadnought to keep hacking down Marines and thought that I could probably kill a few more with Fearless wounds. Minor mistake from me but charging the Dreadnought probably cost Dave the game (and yes, I did try and talk him out of it) What would I have done in the same boat? I would have passed me first turn and kept everything in reserve. Then when the Vindicator came on I would have tried to kill the Dreadnought (which would have had to make some tough choices about where to drop with no enemy to face) with that since it was the only weapon that could really do the job.
Just a very quick thought on my own Vindicator - I do love using it on guys who have just lost their transport. Even though they're getting a save, if you hit you'll hit the whole squad and wounding most things on a 2+, you should take out the best part of half of them.
I think that the combination of chastising defeat and playing against an army whose capabilities I knew led to me actually coming up with a plan for his game. I'm still pretty happy that I actually stuck to it. One thing did strike me though - Once again I got a bit carried away with killing the enemy rather than claiming Objectives. If Dave had kept his Tactical Squad out of the combat with the Dreadnought and had been a bit luckier with the other squad he could easily have claimed two of the Objectives while I was still edging over the halfway point. Part of that was fear of the Vindicator. They are tremendous area denial weapons and at 750 points with so many restrictions on lists there won't be lots that can take them out at range and no one wants to get too close to one. Still a 1-0 win is still a win and after the first game I certainly can't complain about that.