Turns out a last-minute change to the line-up renders yesterday’s post irrelevant. My opponent was not to be Imperial Fists this time around, but Blood Angels.
Loyalist Scum in either case.
Set-up & Mission
As agreed, the battle was 4000pts a side with myself and my ally (Ian) splitting the points 50/50, so 2000-a-piece.
The mission we played was a custom one and a favorite of our gaming group, with 6 objectives (numbered 1-6) that deploy equally-spaced around the board. At the end of each player turn you roll a dice and the corresponding token scatters 2D6 (in the direction you choose if it’s a ‘hit’). You then get a point for each token you control at the end of your turn, adding them up as you go.
Matt lost the roll-off for deployment so we made him deploy first and subsequently failed to seize the initiative ourselves. Deployment looked like this:
For Matt’s part deployment was predictable. A Spartan full of Terminators, led by a Praetor, took the right flank supported by a large Assault Squad, themselves joined by the warlord (another Praetor, this time with a jump pack) and a blob of 20 marines.
The left flank had another large squad of Assault Marines (led by a Consul) and a Support Squad with Volkite Chargers in a Rhino.
A Fire Raptor and a Storm Eagle made up Matt’s reserve and basic block of Veterans held the center.
Our forces set up in a fairly standard manner too, with the Fellblade more-or-less in the center, supported to the right by Veteran and Recon squads. The Ashen Circle deployed behind the Fellblade while the second Veteran unit (with Outflank) waited in reserve.
Ian deployed his Plaguebearers as a giant blob in the center, covering the Fellblades’s left flank and supported by Zardu, while the Bloodthirster and Seekers took the left flank backed up by two Tactical Squads and a Contemptor. Beasts of Nurgle and Blight Drones took point.
Matt’s first turn set the tone for the rest of the battle.
Everything advanced forwards through cover and took shots at whatever was close enough to hit. Thanks to the proliferation of Assault Cannons in the Blood Angels force, this meant an annoyingly large number of high-strength, rending shots from across the board.
Defensive rolling was poor, and even though they were in decent cover I lost 4 Ashen Circle from 5 wounds and 5 Veterans from 7 wounds. Ian’s Daemons took a little damage from mass Boltgun fire but nothing too serious, and the Bloodthirster lost 2 wounds as well.
An underwhelming start perhaps, but things didn’t get much better in our turn.
Turn one for us signaled a general advance up the board mirroring and responding to Matt’s movement. On the right the Fellblade moved a couple of inches forward for better visibility, as did the Veterans, while on the left Ian’s beasts of Nurgle and Blight Drones moved far enough forwards that they put themselves in position for a potential first-turn charge. Good enough.
Shooting, in contrast, was abysmal!
The Recon squad shot the Assault Marines, killing two (one being a precision shot on the sergeant) and forcing a pinning check that they passed, barely (rolling a 10), while the veterans shot at the now-in-melta-range Spartan, glancing it.
That glancing hit was the highlight.
The Fellblade opened fire with the worst turn of shooting I’ve had in ages. The Quad-Lascannons shot the Contemptor in the center, destroying a weapon, while the Battle Cannon fired an AT round at the Spartan, only just managing to hit it. I did succeed in penetrating the hull thanks to Armourbane, but then rolled a 1 on the damage chart, squandering the chance. The Demolisher cannon in the hull shot the marine blob (now behind the Spartan), but scattered badly and only managed to kill three marines. The pintle Multi-melta missed and I forgot entirely about the Heavy Bolters in the hull; not that it would have mattered.
The only combat of the opening turn was between the Blight Drones and the Assault Squad on the left (Ian made the charge successfully), but the Consul with his (utterly filthy) ‘Blade of Perdition’ killed them all before they could attack.
In terms of Objectives, Matt claimed 3 in his turn, but a fortunate roll meant we were able to claim 4 in ours, putting us tentatively in the lead.
With depressingly little damage done to the Angels, we moved on to turn two.
This is where things went irreparably wrong. I was too confident in believing that I could have wrecked the Spartan turn one, and my slight movement in the opening phases to guarantee range on the Demolisher cannon had turned an assault from the ensconced Terminators from a possibility into a certainty.
Matt’s Assault Squad on the left consolidated up towards the Seekers while the Support unit disembarked to get a turn of shooting on the Beasts. The center units held position while the Assault Squad with the warlord moved up and prepared to charge the rooftop-based Recon unit.
The Spartan sat in the middle of the board after pivoting slightly, causing the mass of Terminators to pile out the side exit directly in front of the Fellblade and Veterans. Matt chose for the Praetor to leave the unit so it could charge the Vets independently. Boo.
Shooting was a mixed bag. The beasts of Nurgle died to the Volkite-weilding Support Squad and the Bloodthirster took another wound to small arms fire. The Ashen circle lost two more of their number to Assault cannons and the Veterans took another casualty from the Spartan.
We did get some satisfaction however from two assault cannons exploding this turn, one on the terminator unit, the other on a Contemptor.
The assault phase was where the damage was really caused. The Terminators charged the Fellblade (successfully rolling the 4″ they needed), the Praetor charged the Veterans and the Assault squad charged the Recon Unit. Nothing was hurt by over-watch and there were no charges on the left side.
- The Termi-Praetor challenged the Chaplain, which I accepted, but he fluffed his attacks and despite having two lighting claws and digital weapons only caused 2 wounds, which the Chaplain promptly saved thanks to his artificer armour. Justice was quickly served as the chaplain rolled brilliantly in response, causing three wounds with the Power Maul, of which Matt failed 2, and leaving the Praetor concussed with only two wounds remaining.
- The Jump-pack Praetor made up for this in his combat and hit first with 6 master-crafted attacks, which all hit and all wounded. The aforementioned ‘Blade of Perdition’ means that after saves (of which I had none) every wound is doubled, so the squad took 12 wounds from 6 attacks and died before it could even hit back.
- The Terminators had a mix of weapons, but the 4x Chainfists was where the damage came from. I was confident they’d hurt me, but of the 12 attacks Matt hit with 11; 9 of which were penetrating. Of those, two were 6s, and the extra 2D3 hull points was sufficient to see the Super-Heavy tank dead. We rolled a 6 for Catastrophic Damage, but it didn’t scatter and because the Fellblade is so big the terminators avoided the central blast (and the ‘D’ hits) entirely. The middle ring, despite being St10, is only AP3, so the terminators survived unscathed, as did pretty much everything else barring two Plaguebearers. Statistically unlikely, but frustrating none the less and I’m pretty sure I showed it.
The only consolation we had from Matt’s turn was that both the Reserve flyers had failed to arrive.
Our turn two was not actually that bad considering the beating we’d just taken. Everything moved into a position to charge and I rolled a 6 for my outflanking Veterans, who came on at the far right where the Recon unit had just died. The Seekers on the left moved up ready to charge the Assault Squad who’d killed the Drones, but knowing they’d have to charge through cover (the bane of all Deamons) they weren’t very happy about it. Meanwhile the Plaguebearers shuffled forwards in the center to claim another objective, while ‘Zardu and the Bladeslaves’ (is that a Death-metal band yet?) moved off to enact revenge against the Terminators.
For the second turn in a row our Psychic phase achieved nothing, but shooting was a little more satisfying. The 4 remaining Ashen Circle used their hand flamers to melt 6 of the Assault Squad (they were still together atop the building) and the newly arrived Veterans killed another 3.
On the left the Seekers charged the other Assault marines, the Bloodthirster charged the support squad and the Chariot of Khorne-thing charged a Contemptor. At the other end of the board the Ashen Circle charged the Praetor Squad and Zardu charged the Terminators.
Complete ‘karmic balance’ was achieved in this assault phase.
- The Jump-Praetor and his unit killed the Ashen Circle with ease, for no loss in return. It was always a gamble, but I hoped that I might survive and hold them up for a turn.
- In contrast, the Blade slaves killed all 8 Remaining Terminators in one round. 6 attacks each on the charge at I6, Str6 and WS5, (that are AP2 and cause 2 wounds on a wound roll of 5 or 6) are utterly filthy, and while my rolling was well above average, hitting with everything thanks to Zealot and rolling nothing but 5+s to wound, Matt’s Invulnerable saves were what failed him, and of the 10 wounds I caused in total Matt failed all but two, removing the squad entirely.
- The ongoing combat between the Chaplain and Praetor was another draw, the Chaplain and Squad taking another wound from the Praetor leaving him on one, for no wounds in return. Artificer armour saving the day here.
- The seekers on the left suffered at the hands of the Assault marines on that side of the board (due to not getting any charge benefits from the cover) being reduced down to 5 models, but caused a decent number of causalities in return, forcing a draw.
- The Bloodthirster minced the Support squad for no damage in return and then cut them down when they fled.
The turn ended with Matt claiming 3 more objective points (for a total of 6) in his turn, were we claimed 2 (for a total of 6 also). We were level-pegging on VPs going into turn three, but aside from the unharmed Plague-blob in the center our forces were looking a lot worse for wear than Matt.
The Fire Raptor turned up this turn and headed over to deal with the newly arrived Veterans, the Jump-praetor and his two remaining marines headed off the roof to deal with the chaplain, and the center Contemptor moved up to threaten a tactical squad. The giant blobs in the centre stayed where they were to contest objectives and the Spartan moved backwards a little but otherwise stayed where it was.
In shooting the Bloodthirster (now exposed) was faced with the small arms fire of two units and the bigger guns of the Spartan. Despite some poor rolling from Matt enough damage was done to see the ‘thirster dead, much to our distress. The right-hand blob shot the Veterans along with the Fire Raptor, their combined firepower killing 5 marines and the remaining shooting took out a couple of the Plaguebearers and one of the Blade Slaves.
The assault phase saw only mopping up action:
- The Jump-praetor came to the rescue of his Terminator-armoured ally, striking at AP2 and saving the day by killing all of them before they could strike. The seriously wounded Terminator consolidated towards the rooftop objective, claiming it while the other headed towards Zardu.
- The combat between the Seekers and Assault marines on the left stayed a stalemate and the Contemptor beat the marines that couldn’t hurt it in the center.
Matt ended his turn 3 claiming 4 of the 6 objectives.
Our turn was optimistic, as victory was clearly slipping away from us. For movement the Plaguebearers moved onto another objective, contesting it. Zardu moved closer to the Jump-praetor and the remaining under-strength Veteran unit moved into a positon to shoot the wounded terminator.
Shooting was a let down, again, the only highlight being that the Veterans killed the wounded Praetor and contested that objective with the Warlord.
Zardu and the remaining Slave failed their 8″ charge to get into combat with Matt’s warlord, and the fight on the far left ended in a stalemate. Despite being close enough to contest 5 of the 6 objectives at the end of turn three, we were only able to claim 2 outright and from that point we simply would not have had enough models to contest any more.
With no way through and bleak prospects for future turns (there was still a Storm eagle in reserve) Ian and I conceded defeat.
A 10-8 victory for the Blood Angels.
A frustrating and short, but still enjoyable game. A couple of lessons to learn from this one:
- Hide the Fellblade behind a mob of stuff, only move it if your opponent forces you to and don’t feel bad about it.
- The “Blade of Perdition” weapon needs to be hit with the proverbial ‘Nerf-bat’, at the very least making it ‘unique’ so that you can only have one!
- Veterans have a lot more attacks that you think. It’s 2 basic and they come with additional CC weapons, so they get 4 Attacks each on the charge. I’d have used them more aggressively and positioned them differently had I remembered.
- Actually the Blood Angels rule that gives them all +1 to wound (or whatever it is) wasn’t that bad. Stuff which died would have died anyway and things that it would have mattered against (Beasts, Monstrous Creatures etc) were shot at rather than charged.
- Ashen circle hand flamers are really good and I failed to take advantage of the unit properly, but I was also a little unlucky with my armour saves.
There was obviously lots else that I could have done, but those are the main stand-out things from the game.