(rpr @ Mar. 25 2008,18:52)
Then at some point Deathstrike launchers engage SC Tacticals and with heavy support from Shadowswords rout and wipe them out!
Thunderhawks try assault on Shadowswords (fail and is wiped out).
You got one important point wrong here. The thunderhawk assaulted before the speeders were broken and tacticals got annihilated. It would've been pretty silly to assault them alone.
Anyway, what happened was that the thunderhawk took a point of damage from flak, then manouvered so that it only firefought two shadowswords, taking no points of damage in the process. And the combined might of the thunderhawk, a tactical formation and a land speeder formation (neither had taken any casualties at that point, since I did the thunderhawk assault as my next activation after the supreme command failure) caused one whole damage point. Wheeeeeee.
So yeah, I got really trounced in that fight. The orbital drop was a complete failure (you left out the point that the devastators and dreadnoughts assaulting the russes lasted two rounds of combat, them managing to destroy... one russ, even though none of my guys got killed in the first round), my every other assault got me wiped out and those reinforced armour saves didn't seem to fail, ever. Oh, and of course I failed two important rally rolls for the last turn, not that it would've won me the game since I was pretty shredded at that point. But at least the terminator assault worked well, until they got shot up that is.
Come to think of it, my last really bad loss was against eldar, who also deployed in a really tight cluster with no holes to get through and six flak tanks. Marines can't seem to win anything in a shooting match and an assault would've been doomed with all that support fire. Need to figure out what to do with that kind of opponents, especially since they outactivate me with their cheapo activations and either shoot the hell out of me (eldar) or won't die, ever (guard tanks).
So what did I learn?
1. Orbital drops are hideously inaccurate, especially if the opponent deploys like that. The pods should probably go near each other, so the deathwind hits -something- and the formations can support each other.
2. I still hate reinforced armour.
3. Whoa, those comissars are a major pain. Nearly every single formation (especially the reinforced armour ones, which are hard enough as is) gets inspiring. Even those silly little manticore and deathstrike ones. And when you manage to wipe a formation out, there's a good chance that one of the units you didn't kill directly is fearless, so it won't die and can run around screwing the game up for you and take objectives. Arrg.