Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tentacles tighten around the Anchor Sector!

Hey Fellow Gamers. Quick 40K battle report here. Well, actually, I failed to take notes at the time, so I had to interview the participants to recreate the events. Then I failed to use those scribbled notes for another week. So it’s not really a battle report, per se; it’s more like a war story recollected days later after a night of heavy binge drinking. A battle happened—that much we know. We also know the outcome. Everything else is a bit hazy.

Anyway, we recently got together on a Sunday evening at Carlos’ sister’s scrapbooking store after hours because it has ample table space and we didn’t have to worry about the local game store wanting to lock its doors. It was going to be an epic battle between 3000 points of Imperials and 3000 points of Tyranids. I was fielding a combat force of those manly space Vikings otherwise known as the Space Wolves, supported (I hoped) by Carlos’ Imperial Guard Astra Militarum. Our buddies, Dr. Todd and Chica James, were fielding the Bugs. Below are our army lists. The last time I teamed up with Guard, our other buddy Nathan missed with all 9 las cannons in one round—which pretty much summed up the bloodbath that degenerated into. I had higher hopes for the armored task force that Carlos rolled into the fight with.


Astra Militarum (Carlos “Tanks! Tanks! Tanks!” Hernandez)

• Tank Commander—Leman Russ Exterminator (twin-linked autocannon): heavy bolter sponsons, dozer blade, fire barrels
• Squad Exterminator—heavy bolter sponsons, dozer blade, fire barrels
• 10-man Veteran squad—1 heavy flamer x2 plasma rifles, krak grenades with a Chimera transport: heavy flamer, heavy bolter
• 10-man Veteran squad—heavy flamer x2 plasma rifles, krak grenades with a Chimera transport: multi-laser/heavy bolter
• Squadron of 2 Leman Russ Executioners—plasma executioner, plasma side sponsons/las cannon, dozer, fire barrels
• Knight Errant—Meltacannon of Doominess, Giantass Chainsword (I have no idea what they’re called).

Space Wolves (Sean "The Tree Marker" Layton

• Wolf Lord – Armor of Russ, Helm of Durfast, two Wolf Claws
• Rune Priest (Mastery Lvl 2 – Biomancy: Smite, Iron Arm, Hemorrhage), Psychic Hood, Rune Staff, plasma pistol
• Iron Priest with 4 servitors.
• Grey Hunter Pack – 9 marines (bolters, bolt pistols, 2 plasma rifles) led by a Wolf Guard pack leader (power sword, combi-flamer)
• Grey Hunter Pack – 9 marines (bolters, bolt pistols, close combat weapons, 2 flamers) led by a Wolf Guard pack leader (frostfang sword and storm shield)
• Long Fang Pack– 5 marines (las cannons) led by an Ancient with a plasma rifle.
• Whirlwind
• Redeemer Landraider (Flamestorm cannons, twin-linked assault cannons, multimelta)
• Murderfang (special character dreadnaught with an boatload of special rules)


Hive Fleet Scorpion
Dr. Todd

• The Swarmlord—Bone Sabres,
• Hive Guard Brood of 3—Shockcannons
• Hive Tyrant—Scything Talons
• Toxicrene—Lash Whips
• Hive Crone—Tentaclids
• Genestealer brood—Rending Claws
• Tyrannocyte—Deathspitters
• Termagant Brood—Devourers
• Tyrannocyte—Deathspitters

Hive Fleet Chiggers
Chica James

Hive Tyrant with wings—Lash Whip, Bone Sword, and Scything Talons (psychic powers Catalyst and Warp Blast)
• 3 Carnifex—Devourers
• 3 Carnifex—Scything Talons
• 1 Genestealer brood of 8—Rending Claws
• 1 Genestealer brood of 8—Rending Claws
• 1 Venomthrope
• 1 Venomthrope
• 1 Lictor

The Battle

We ended up playing Eternal War: Big Guns Never Tire with a Vanguard Strike setup (diagonal split of the table). We rolled 3 Objective Markers (each controlled one at game’s end was worth 3 points) which all ended up more or less along the center line. Game would be decided by most Victory points (destroyed units, objectives, first blood, slain warlord, etc). The Forces of Good set up first and got the 1st Turn.

Set Up

The Astra Militarum was vehicle heavy with lots of heavy metal, plasma, and scorchie stuff, backed up by hull-mounted las cannons—all intended to stop the Tyranids in their tracks and make them cry. For footsloggers, the Guard called upon the wily courage of two 10-man squads of Veterans, each packing a flamer and two plasma rifles and mounted in a Chimera, one with a turret-mounted heavy flamer and the other armed with a multi-laser. A giant Knight Errant stomped around the middle of the battlefield, ready to give the Nids a taste of figurative boot leather (among other things).

The Space Wolf force was led by a Wolf Lord kitted out for close combat ass kicking (Armor of Russ 2+ armor save/4+ invulnerable save/-5 penalty to enemy Initiative in a challenge *which I always forget*, Helm of Durfast (reroll misses), and two Wolf Claws (reroll failed to wound rolls) who accompanied a Grey Hunter squad that brought along two plasma rifles—the pack leader was armed with a combi-flamer and a power sword. The pack took up position in the center of the diagonal battle line, set back a bit so it could blast onrushing ‘nids at long range.

A second Grey Hunter squad was thrown forward near the front lines on the low flank, taking cover on a fortified shipping container. It was armed with bolters, bolt pistols, additional close combat weapons, and two flamers. Its pack leader was in power armor and bore a storm shield and frostfang sword. Tagging along was a Rune Priest. The Redeemer lurked nearby to help hold that sector, its Flamestorm Cannons ready to make lots of crispy bugs and its twin-linked assault cannon and multimelta figuring to add to the carnage. Inside it was the Iron Priest with a boatload of servitors to try to handle the damage the ‘nids were sure to inflict at the close range the Redeemer would have to close to in order to start setting things on fire.

As a Carnifex solution, a squad of Long Fangs with 5 Lascannons led by a plasma rifle-toting Ancient took up a central, elevated firing position, ready to burn holes in giant bugs. The Whirlwind missile launcher was nearby, ready to rain down cover-denying Inferno missiles on anything scuttling around in large groups. Backing them up and waiting for the inevitable Deep Striking Bugs was Murderfang, his gleaming ice claws ready to Ginsu anything that got in range.

James deployed one brood of infiltrating Genestealers forward, uncomfortably close to my Grey Hunters on the front line containers. The other brood was near his main force. He had two broods of Carnifexs, each benefiting from Shroud from a Venomthrope—one set up for hand to hand badassery and the other all about the shooting with each one putting out 12 S6 (Living Ammo) twin-linked shots. (Yeah, those guys had to die). His winged Hive Tyrant was in the middle of his battleline, ready to fly forward and start beating on things.
Todd deployed his Toxicrene, the Swarm Lord, Hive Tyrant and Tyrant Guard. In reserve, he kept his Genestealers and Termagants, loaded into Tyrannocytes , and his Hive Crone.

Turn 1

The Grey Hunters thought briefly about leaving their position on the cargo container to try and get shots on the nearby Genestealers, but realized it would be suicide and opted to shoot long range at the Genestealers crossing open terrain. The Whirlwind tried an Indirect Barrage onto the huddled mass of Genestealers hidden below the far end of the forward cargo defensive position. It was a perfect target, so naturally, the barrage was way off the mark, the crew unable to correct the blind shot and it fell harmlessly.

The Carnifexs were able to shrug off most of the heavy fire directed at them due to the Shrouded effect conferred by the Venomthropes, one of which was wounded. The Toxicrene took a wound too. The Grey Hunters in the center of the board poured their fire at the Genestealers, taking some down, but one of their plasma riflemen forgot to bring along an icepack and was killed by his overheating gun.
The Hive Tyrant from Hive Fleet Chiggers flew forward with scuttling Genestealers in tow. There was a minor disagreement as the brood of Genestealers lurking in cover of the cargo container had originally declared they were trying to move up through difficult terrain to get on the container to set up an assault on the Grey Hunters, but James rolled poorly. They then moved off in another direction toward the Redeemer. I argued the Difficult Terrain rule says you roll to move into the terrain or you can choose to sit still if the roll sucks and that it doesn’t give you the option to move off another direction, but to keep things moving along, I allowed the move. The Chiggers’ Hive Tyrant used Warp Blast to take a Hull Point off the Redeemer (damn Lance rule) The Bugs had psychic superiority all battle long, which was a pain in the butt – particularly Catalyst which gave Feel No Pain saves.

The Tyrant Guard moved up and hit the Redeemer with their Shockcannons, and the Haywire effect took two more hull points off, leaving it barely in action. The Genestealers that the Whirlwind failed to hit now charged the hurting Redeemer, as did the Hive Tyrant. Things looked bad. Except the Hive Tyrant wasn’t set up to power through its armor. He was only S7 (+1 S with Adrenal Glands) on the charge and could only get a 13 at most, not enough for my formidable 14 armor. That was one seriously bummed Hive Tyrant (I think that in the limited Tyranid emotional spectrum bummed equals enraged). But things still looked grim for the Redeemer. The blob of Genestealers clawing it only had to get one Glance from their bazillion attacks (ok, it was only 32 attacks, but that feels like a bazillion) to kill it, which would be possible with their Adrenal Glands (+1 S from Furious Charge), and Rending Claws (extra bonus D3 after rolling a 6 for armor penetration). It would take a perfect set of circumstances to get that critical Glancing Hit – Hive Cheater McDonald would have to roll a 6 on his armor penetration, then a 3 on the bonus rending roll, which, when added to his S4 and +1S bonus for Furious Charge would give him a 14 (6+3+4+1=14). And he had 32 tries. Except he blew it. Not one Glancing Hit. I couldn’t believe my luck.

Turn 2

It was Genestealer roasting time. The forward pack of Grey Hunters left their defensive position and moved in and hit the Genestealers, who had attacked the Redeemer, hitting them with flamers and boltguns and wiped them out. The Redeemer and other squad of Grey Hunters killed the Hive Tyrant. I screwed up at this point, mistakenly thinking I couldn’t use the Iron Priest’s Mr. Fixit Autobody skillz to repair the Landraider if I fired its weapons, which wasn’t the case—it was if the Iron Priest shot.

The various LeMan Russes unleashed hell on the hand to hand Carnifexs and gooified one with concentrated plasma fire.
The Knight stomped in against the other brood of Carnifex and cut one in half.
Meanwhile, a Veteran squad who were guarding an objective tangled with the hand to hand Carnifexs. They lobbed all their Krak grenades at them—and missed (Shades of Nathan’s las cannons all over again). In the ensuing assault, the Veterans got their asses handed to them but the survivors fell back, abandoning the objective.
The Toxicrene on the low flank huddled behind a building, wounded and made no further move to advance.
Led by a deep striking Lictor, the Tyranid Tyrannocytes dropped in from space and barfed out Termagaunts and Genestealers into the good guy’s backfield though what fire they turned on the defenders had limited immediate effect other than getting the their attention.

Turn 3—A Sudden Reversal of Fortune

Things went terribly for Hive Fleet Chiggers. The fleeing Veteran squad rallied and killed a Carnifex.
Murderfang decided it was time to live up to his name and lit up the Genestealers of Hive Fleet Scorpion with his heavy flamer and stormbolter before getting stuck.
The Tyranids made a concerted effort to bring the Knight down and the remaining Carnifex from Hive Fleet Chiggers managed to fell it, but it went nuclear and avenged its own death by vaporizing its killers and a brood of Genestealers. Hive Fleet Chiggers was down to one lonely Venomthrope and a hand to hand Carnifex.
The Hive Crone swooped over the battlefield and fired its Tentaclids, finishing off the Redeemer with a salvo of Tentaclids, but despite this the Imperials felt confident having inflicted massive casualties for their own acceptable losses. It was just a matter of time before the Nids were wiped out to a bug.

Then the unthinkable happened....

Suddenly, word came down that the battle would be called after Turn 3. At first the bloodthirsty Space Wolves thought it was because the Bugs needed their beauty sleep and were crying ‘Uncle”, but much to the Wolf Lord’s chagrin, it turned out that the Imperial Guard element was under strict orders from the High Wife of Terra to return to its barracks by 9:30 p.m. – forcing them to pack up and withdraw before the joint task force could strike a glorious coup de grĂ¢ce against the hated Tyranids. Imperial analysts are convinced if the battle would have went the distance, the Emperor’s hammer strike would have crushed the Bugs. But as it was, the Bugs squeaked out a victory by 1 point. We’d destroyed a warlord and some heavy units, but they’d also knocked out some heavies and they had a unit in our deployment zone, and they controlled two objectives. The Toxicrene that we had assumed was huddling behind a building in fear was actually huddling over an Objective. Driving back the Veterans had been crucial as the Objective was no longer contested.
All in all, it was a good game, and despite losing it, the Imperials declared moral victory, sang a paean to the Emperor’s glory and departed for their home bases to leave the busted up Bug force to enjoy its Pyrrhic victory.

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