[Warning/Disclaimer] This is a very long post.


Week one began with a gathering around the shiny new (old?) campaign map. Like the great generals of antiquity we loomed intently over the battlefield and made our plans, for the first time setting our eager eyes upon the prizes and awaiting glory of war*.

{*We pointed and asked the GM “what does this tile do?” for about 20 minutes.}

The map creation stage started with the Chaotic defenders placing their HQ (red circles) but nothing else. The Imperial attackers placed their HQ in response (green circles) and then rolled 3D6, occupying that many tiles in concentric circles (or as close to as possible) around their base. Chaos then occupied everything else by default.

After placement the map looked fairly even, with the numbers advantage going to Chaos as expected.

  • Both Spaceports in the north are occupied by the Imperials
  • Both Hives in the south are occupied by Chaos
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Before the first turn the map starting positions looked like this. I’ll make sure I know the names of the cities and ports for the next post, as they do actually have them.

Game One

For the first game the Imperials, who outnumbered the Chaos players by 2:1 were forced into coalition battles and this meant only two battles for the opening night.

In my case this meant my Inquisitorial task-force was allied with a Space Marine detachment (50PL apiece) against Chaos Warriors (100PL), while the other table saw Imperial Fists and Blood Angels fighting against Nurgle deamons to the same points values.

Mission types were randomised because both Imperial assaults were declared against generic Chaos tiles adjacent to the hives (which can’t be attacked unless you own an adjacent tile. We rolled kill points, mission 4 I think, but I have no idea what the other game was (more on that later).

The Armies

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The bulk of Ian’s Chaos hoard. Blurry shot. Slaanesh units on the flanks, Terminators in reserve.
  • Ian’s general for the campaign is a Chaos Lord of Khorne on foot, and his close advisors for this battle were a Slaanesh (Who?) Sorcerer and Terminator Lord.
  • 3 x 8-man squads of Berserkers, some Berserk Bikers and a Berserkanought.
  • 2 x largish squads of Noise Marines, and a squad of Slaaneshi Terminators
  • Some Chaos Spawn and two Rhinos.

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My forces, as I didn’t take a shot of Sam’s and mine together.

Our forces were as follows (I took no shot of Sam’s marines)

  • My Inquistor, assisted by a Commissar
  • 2 Infantry Squads, one Scion unit and some Ratlings formed the core of infantry
  • A Command Squad and an Assassin formed the support units
  • A Scout Sentinel and 2 Leman Russ tanks provided the muscle.

 

  • A Space Marine Terminator Captain led my ally’s force
  • Two 10-man tactical squads and some terminators formed the core
  • A Lascannon Predator and a Vindicator provided the muscle.

 

Turn 1.

With the far smaller force (by numbers) Chaos initiative was basically inevitable.

We were unsurprised when predictably, yet no less menacingly, the Chaos Lord ordered his troops forwards, advancing directly into – and through- the terrain dominating the center of the table. The Slaaneshi units did much the same, with the Terminators arriving turn 1 on the far right flank.

Shooting was mediocre at best for the Chaos, but the cover-ignoring-assault-weapon accuracy of the Noise Marines made short work of the Ratling snipers in the bottom left building and killed a few guardsmen for good measure.

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The terminators (and lord) are just barely in shot on the right; next to the rhino. Out of shot in the terrain on the left are the other noise marines and spawn.

The Imperial response was perhaps better than expected. The Assassins, Terminators and Scions arrived from reserve, the former charging and killing the Chaos Sorcerer in a single round of combat and the latter hurting the Slaaneshi Terminators pretty badly with their Storm Bolters and Heavy Flamer. The Predator rolled well and took out the Berserkernaught in a single volley of laser fireworks, but the Vindicator did absolutely nothing; rolling a 1 for shots and missing the Terminators altogether. The Sentinel, in a feat of  unexpected courage, charged the Rhino in the hope of keeping it tied up.

Lasgun volleys and some lucky rolling from the Fleet Officer in the center saw the Khorne Bikers destroyed, but smoke, cover and good fortune* kept the bulk of the the Khorne units untouched in the ruins. Hindsight should have had us ignoring the Bikers in favor of the zerks.

We knew they were about to hit us like a train in their next turn, but unfamiliarity with 8th-ed fight sequencing (and the fact Khorne units fight twice!) meant that we still underestimated it.

*The Vanquisher once again proved how bad it is a tank hunter by missing with absolutely everything.

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The imperial lines as viewed from just above the noise marine’s position. You can make out the Ratlings just above the Vanquisher

Turn 2

Chaos Turn 2 turned everything around pretty quickly, equaling, if not quite exceeding, the damage done to them by the Imperials in turn 1. Shooting of course remained pretty mediocre, with the noise marines on the left badly mauling a tactical squad, killing 5/6, while the ones on the left took a couple of wounds off the Exterminator, but that was about it.

The charge phase in contrast ripped the heart out of the coalition lines, much as we expected it would. Two squads of Berserkers and their Lord charged forwards out of the ruins, one into the Bunker, the other into the infantry squad next to it. Needless to say the guardsmen never stood a chance, being ripped apart in short order and causing the Berserkers to pile into the Marines and Inquisitor (an error of our deployment, we haven’t learned our lessons quite yet).

Amusingly though, the combined power of the other squad and the Lord was not quite sufficient to destroy the Bunker in a single round, leaving it with a solitary wound! The  Slaanesh Lord and now-solo Terminator survived the tank overwatch and made it to the relative safety of vehicular combat, where the lighting claws failed to hurt anything, but his chainfist-wielding associate dispatched the Vindicator, killing himself and the Astropath (as well as wounding the Leman Russ) in the resulting conflagration.

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The Exterminator fires everything it has into the Berserkers and Terminators turn 1, chipping away at several units at once before getting bogged down in combat with the Slaanest units.
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If you were an imperial guardsman, is this what you’d want to see running towards you? Even with a Commissar and Inquisitor behind you, it takes some nerve.

Imperial turn two was a desperate attempt to provide damage control and restore initiative, with mixed results.

What remained of the guardsmen in the center, including the Command Squad and the Commissar, charged into melee hoping to slow the Berserkers down. They achieved some small gains, killing a few of them, but use of Ian’s command points meant the Khorne units fought out of sequence and killed an entire unit of guardsmen before it could attack.

Shooting-wise the turn had been less than spectacular too, as A: most of the chaos units were engaged in the ‘safety’ of close combat and B: those that weren’t in melee were safely on the other side of the battlefield. The Scions and Terminator allies shot at the Rhino (following destruction of the Sentinel) but did very little, and the Vanquisher once again shot at, but missed, the Khorne Rhino.

 

Turn 3

Ian’s turn 3 was decidedly short. Movement was basically none-existent, save for the Spawn moving into charge range. Shooting was quick too; the left-hand Noise Marines reducing the Tactical Squad opposing them to a single man, the other unit having no viable targets.

Fighting was quick, but brutal. The Chaos Lord carved the officer of the fleet into tiny pieces without even breaking a sweat, and the Khorne Berserkers, despite being reduced to a single man for their efforts, we supported by the other unit and managed to kill both the Commissar and finish off my Inquisitor General.

The bunker had collapsed under the weight of many, many chainswords and the combats between Slaanesh and vehicle continued much as before; with nothing really happening.

The Imperial turn saw the Lascannon Predator kill two of the three Spawn and cripple the third, but the Vanquisher proved itself capable of actually hitting something and fried the remains with its Lascannon.

The assassins finally escaped the clutches of the Khorne Rhino (just don’t get me started)  and moved to threaten the noise marines, but it was already feeling too late for them to have an impact.

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Hmm. I think this is actually turn two. Move the command squad about 6″ right and take the left-hand guardsmen unit off the board and you’d be about right.

Turn 4

Turn 4 was also very quick. The Berserkers mopped up the infantry in the center with ease and the Slaaneshi units piled into the Exterminator but otherwise not much happened.

Our Terminators, who for so much of the battle had been chasing the Slaaneshi units sideways across our deployment zone, still failed to make combat, but did manage to wound a few more models with their shooting following the demise of the Scions a short distance away.

As an aside, their (the Scions) impact on the game was essentially insignificant. Some of that was unfortunate rolling, but they were really just too far away to be useful when they were needed most. The same is true for the Terminators. We should have these units back.

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It’s oh, so quiet…..
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Turns out that for all the noise marine’s crazy weaponry, they are not very good at killing vehicles. That said, vehicles are not exactly great at killing marines either and this was likely to drag on a while…

Turn 5 (Final Turn)

By the start of turn five it was looking bleak. The mission was kill points, and Ian was winning with a margin of around 4.  I did some quick maths while Ian went through the motions of a brief movement and shooting phases and realised that if he were to score another 2 kill points, we would have ‘table’ the rest of his army to even force a draw.

Admittedly most of our army was either a Terminator or a Tank by this point, but when the next model was removed it seem sensible to concede rather than string the game out for such a small chance of victory.

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To the victor, the spoils of war.

Conclusion/Summary

I think there are 5 learning points for me from this game. Some rules-based, some tactics.

  1. If you’re fighting with Allies, it helps if your forces actually compliment each other. We had a surplus of basic infantry, and no where near enough dedicated combat or elite troops. There was not much synergy between our forces either, whereas Ian’s force had been designed with that in mind.
  2. Don’t commit all your reserves in turn 1. Save something back as you might need it reactively. This is especially true of AM units, as a unit left alone is a dead unit when literally everything is faster and more dangerous in the new system.
  3. If at all possible deploy with a 3-5″ buffer between units to prevent chaining and multi-charges.
  4. Standard Vanquishers are rubbish. Just UTTER GARBAGE now, unless they’re tank commanders when they become passable, just.
  5. Individual characters can very easily get bogged down with cheap vehicles, so beware of the combat rhino.

 

What about Game 2?

I’ll keep my version really short, as none of our board were really paying full attention and I barely took any pics of it.

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Imperial Fist and Blood Angel form a flying wedge.
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Really annoyed with the fact I didn’t get many photographs of Dan’s Nurgle deamons, an army that now, thanks to a new paint update and some clever use of resin, looks freakin’ amazing!

This game ended with a Chaos Victory, much to the frustration of Pete and Toph. I don’t know if they were just unlucky, or Dan’s army is that tough (or a combination of the two) but by about turn 4  they seemed to just want it to be over.

Toph’s EDIT

This is a write up from one of the three generals on the other board, fleshing it out a little bit more.

So I (Topher) had:


-Captain Banakein of the 9th Imperial Fist Company
-Brother Librarian Karsus
-2 Devastator squads w/missiles & heavy bolters
-Mortis contemptor w/ 4 lascannons
-Mortis contemptor w/ 2 kheres & cyclone
-Whirlwind Scorpius.

Pete had:

-Captain “badass” (or some other suitably twilight name)
-Librarian
-Lemartes
-2 Death Company squads
-A Veteran squad with lots of melta
-A Razorback with twin assault cannon

Dan had:

-3x Nurgle Deamon Princes
-2 nurgle heralds
-2x 20 plaguebearers
-10 plaguebearers
-2 soul grinders
-2 x 6 plague drones

Our mission was maelstrom, where you picked up one card for each objective you held – already putting us on the back foot because I’m a gun line and Dan had loads more stuff to hold objectives with.

We deployed standard dawn of war style with chaos having first turn. Pretty uneventful, a mass movement of nurgle, which with advancing meant nearly everything would be charging turn 2.

The imperial fists opened fire as the BA hung back to counter attack. Every gun opened up and one of the plague drone units was pretty much removed. Dan was rolling hot for his 5+ resilience saves meaning nothing was getting through, despite the amount of shots fired.

Dan’s turn 2 he charged and so started the 4 turn brawl. Dan wasn’t particularly ‘Killy’ (well except the princes) but it was enough to lock us in combat and stop my guns firing.

Pete counter-attacked by charging the death company in, whilst the IF tried desperately to get themselves out of combat. Mortis dreadnoughts have 4 str 7 attacks each and are surprisingly good at butt kicking – would still prefer to fire the guns though!

Notable moments involve Pete reducing 2 deamon princes down to 1 wound each, only for them to regenerate 5 or so back again much to our salty tears. My Terminator Captain received stupid orders from up high and beat up 20 plaguebearers over 6 rounds of combat, before eventually getting out and killing Dan’s Warlord (admittedly he only had a few wounds left at this point)

The victory points were in Dan’s favour for most of the game due to his better board control. We managed to rack up a lot of points when we slew his character, which may have ended the game in a draw, however we got the extra turn meaning Dan had time to capitalise with 1 extra VP before the bell rang.

It was a brutal game both sides, and not much was left standing at the end. But it was a morale loss for the imperials who were unable to cause as much damage as normal due to the disgustingly resilient rule rearing its hard at every opportunity. This was not helped by a mis-deployment and some shoddy decisions throughout.

The imperials were definitely pushed back this round but all is not out yet

..

Two defeats for the Imperials on the first day does not bode well, but we’re quietly confident.

The Emperor protects.

Mat

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