[Long post, but not as long as last time]
The Story so far….
This week was Chaos priority. The generals, still jubilant from their stunning counter to the imperial offensive last week, were keen to twist the knife further and really punish us while they had momentum.
Their forces (now numbering 3 players, following the addition of some traitor guard) elected to push for both our HQ and one of our ‘special’ tiles. They would not be able to attack them specifically this turn, but victories would set them up for a finishing blow in week 3.
There were slightly more of us on both sides, and we were forced to share tables and fight in coalition again, but this time as 2x 2v2s. Once again I found myself allied with Sam and his Space marines (of unknown chapter??) and, once again, our opponents included Ian’s Khorne, though this time joined by Luke’s traitor guard as well.
[Insert map image here]
The other battle was fought between Pete/Brad (Blood Angels/Raven Guard) and Dan/Toph (Deamons/Deamons).
As in the previous week, battles were 100PL a side (+free ‘narrative’ heroes) with a more-or-less 50-50 split between the players.
It is also worth noting two other factors in the games this week:
- 1. This was Luke’s first game of 8th Edition
- 2. Brad is $%#& at Warhammer 40k. 🙂
The Forces/The Mission
At the risk of repeating things from last week, forces stayed much as they had before for Ian and Sam.
- Ian’s Khorne Lord led three decent-sized blobs of Berserkers, supported by bikers, a Dreadnought, some Spawn and a Rhino.
- Sam’s Captain led some Terminators, a Tactical squad, a Dreadnought (replacing the tac squad from last week) and both a Predator and Vindicator.
My force had changed pretty radically since last week though, having seen my infantry suffer terribly at the hands of ‘twice-fighting’ Khorne marines, and so infantry made way for vehicles. Worried that I might have needed to face Dan without sufficient practice, I decided to take the heaviest thing I could and squeezed a Baneblade into a Supreme Command Detachment; a choice that proved costly….. (but for whom?).
This being Luke’s first game of 8th his list was a little more uncertain than ours, having been written in the car on the way over. Essentially Luke went with what worked in 7th; Wyvern artillery, ratling snipers and heavy weapons teams, supported by a handful of Infantry squads. The force was led by a Comp-Commander and a Lord Commissar.
In terms of setup we opted to keep things simple for the sake of Luke. Instead of rolling, we agreed to play a standard ‘pitched battle’ deployment and a simple kill-points orientated mission with secondary objectives. Having far fewer models than our opponents, we finished deployment first.
The Chaos scum rolled a 6 and stole the initiative!
Ian’s Berserkers rushed forwards toward the marines holding the centre-right, and the bikes flew down the let flank. Luke’s guard held their ground across their table edge. Shooting was a mixed bag, with the majority of the Khorne units having advanced and remaing out of range with their pistols. The Guardsmen however knew how to get things done. The Wyvern tanks annihilated the ratling squad in the watchtower (re-rollable 2+ wounds) and the heavy weapons teams took a handful of wounds from both the Vanquisher and Vindicator. Lasguns and bike-bolters thinned out my guardsmen in cover, and Luke’s ratlings killed my lord Commissar in a single volley. 4/5 hits, followed by two wounds, which as they both 6s meant they caused additional mortal wounds as well…. First blood went to Chaos.
In response our first turn was fairly predictable. We kept our Terminators in reserve, but otherwise our only movement was an Eversor Assassin arriving in the top-left corner to create havok among the weapon teams and the Space Marine Dread moving forward to intercept the incoming hordes. On the right the space marines fired as much as they could into the coming Berserkers, thinning a few out, and for the second game in a row the Predator did a stunning amount of damage to the Berserkanought, though it was eventually finished off by the Vanquisher.
The Baneblade was indecisive and split fire across several targets, killing a full heavy weapons team, some guardsmen, the bikers and taking a big chunk out the exposed Berserkers. It fired all of it’s bolters at the ratlings, but rolling was poor and only managed to wound 1, which much to my annoyance Luke used CP to re-roll and save.
The Eversor charged the Mortar team at the back, killing most, but crucially failing to wipe them all out, leaving himself dangerously exposed.
Ian’s Khorne units move up for the kill, rushing towards the space marines and positioning themselves for charges. Luke’s guardsmen hunker down into their cover, or rotate to face the newly arrived Eversor.
Shooting was pretty potent again, the main workhorses being the two Wyverns, who poured the hurt onto by vulnerable infantry. Massed lasguns effectively saw to the Eversor, who wasn’t close enough to explode and kill anyone, but in distracting the guard army he had meant there was less shooting coming at anything else so he had served his purpose.
Combat for the chaos was predictably brutal, though characterized by some terrible luck on Ian’s part. The Khorne hordes charged the dreadnought, supported by the Lord having just exited the Rhino, the Rhino charged the predator, braving the Lascannons to lock it in combat and the Spawn charged the marines. Every unit made it in.
However, despite some incredible charges and an obsecne number of dice, it seems that chainswords were not sufficient to bring down something as tough and well-armoured as a dreadnought. After all of Ian’s attacks, and despite re-rolling 1s, the dreadnought had two wounds remaining. It hit back at the Chaos Lord, savagely pulping him into a filthy red goo for an ignominious end. By rights this should not have happened, and by locking these units into a combat they should have won fairly easily the whole momentum of the battle shifted. The spawn hurt the tactical squad, but not enough to break it.
Our coalition responded by stealing all the luck Chaos had missed out on (Tzeenchian retribution for stealing the initiative?).
- The Baneblade unloaded on the hapless Guardsmen, killing many, wiping out the Berserker squad on that flank and crippling another in the center. It also put 6 wounds onto both the Wyvern and Eradicator, though it did so with the assist of CP.
- The Terminators arrived on the right and engaged the 2nd Wyvern and unit protecting it, killing the whole squad with heavy flamers and stormbolters, plus also doing two wounds to the wyvern itself.
In combat the Dreadnought finally died, though it took another two marines with it, but nothing else was really within range for combats. The fights between the tanks and the Spawn carried on as before.
With the stuffing knock out of the Khorne units and the Terminators hunting glory on the right flank, Luke’s guardsmen tried to force some last-minute order onto the battle. The commander called out to increase the potency of the heavy weapons, and guardsman shooting let rip, finishing off my infantry, exposing my Inquisitor and badly wounding the Vanquisher. The Khorne units continued mauling the tactical squad, and moved up to encircle the Predator ready for a charge.
Our turn three continued as previous had. With only three models remaining my choices were limited. The Baneblade, still untouched (it was a kill-points game), turned its attention to the guardsmen and shot them to pieces, the Vanquisher failed to hit the Wyvern and the Inquistor hid, not wanting to be put down by a lucky lascannon. Our Terminators smashed the 2nd Wyvern apart in the top corner (just about visible in the above picture) and bought turn three to a close.
This seemed like the logical point to end things, as we were clearly at the advantage in kill points at this stage, with seemingly little chance of it being reversed. In many ways this felt like a hollow victory. There are, I think, three reasons for this.
- In a ‘kill points’ game, where the Baneblade is worth so little for such effort needed to remove it, it was just ignored; thereby allowing it free reign to shoot what it liked. It just didn’t feel right in this context, and it was no fun to play as, or I imagine, against. I felt bad using it, as our enemy didn’t really have a counter..I won’t bring it again in smaller games.
- Ian’s terrible luck in combat with the dreadnought and the loss of his Lord of Khorne (while very satisfying for us) definitely changed the outcome of the game and made it much shorter. If more Khorne berserkers had spread across the board and tied things up it could have been very different. We had an exceptionally lucky turn two for shooting.
- Luke’s army composition was advantageous to us, in a way that no one designed it to be, and this was just a result of unfamiliarity with the newer rules. Luke is a competent gamer, so this will change, but it definitely contributed to the one-sided feel.
What about the other battle?
Once again I’ll let someone else write this up shortly, but for now, here are some images and a highly-inaccurate bulletpoint overview.
- It was all Brad’s fault.
- It was all Brad’s fault.
- It was all Brad’s fault.
- Chaos won.