The forces of Chaos have been pushing hard on Astaramis, keeping the Imperial forces on the defensive and constantly under attack from cultists, daemons and the dreaded traitor legions. However, the Ruinous Powers are not the only forces present in the Konor system…
After the devastation at Baal, a splinter of Hive Fleet Leviathan has drifted into the Konor system. Seeking to replenish itself and regrow, the Hive Mind has sensed the vulnerable worlds already in turmoil, and sees only biomass and opportunity. Falling on the hive world of Astaramis, the first wave of myetic spores starts to land on the surface, and Tyranids swarm towards the nearby hive city of Cruthenhive. Initial PDF defence forces were crushed by the xenos advance but, lucklily for the Imperium, the nearest reinforcements are a detachment of the Red Scorpions Adeptus Astartes – famed for their hatred of xenos and experience against the Tyranids. Ordering the PDF to fall back from the front lines, Commander Culln personally prepares to lead his Space Marines against their hated foe in an attempt to halt the Tyranid advance…
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The Tyranids surged forward towards the Imperial lines, a living tide of chitin and claw. Hormagaunts bounded forward down the unguarded left flank, curving in towards the bastion, while the Genestealers dashed towards the barricades. They were on the Imperial defenders before they could react, the enhanced reflexes of the Adeptus Astartes outmatched by the alien speed and ferocity of the Tyranids. Bolter fire rang out, downing some of the four-limbed creatures before the rest smashed into the Tactical marines, tearing them to bloody shreds in a maelstrom of claws.
On the other side of the bastion, the ground thundered and shook as a mighty Trygon burst forth, Termagants spewing from the gaping hole it left behind. Their Devourers showered the Tactical squad in the bastion with a hail of living ammunition, the sheer number of flesh-worms overwhelming the Marines despite their cover and downing two of their number. With a deafening roar, the Trygon slithered up the side of the bastion, its masssive Scything Talons lashing around and shredding the remanining Astartes. Coiling its massive body around the bastion, the Trygon let out a bestial roar of triumph.
The air filled with static electricity as reality itself distorted for a moment, the famed Commander Culln and his personal bodyguard of Terminators teleporting in on the right flank. Their Storm Bolters chattered, the explosive-tipped ammunition cutting through the Genestealers. Lending its mighty firepower to the fusilade, the nearby Land Raider Crusader swung its massive bulk around to bring all of its weapons to bear on the Tyranid shock troops. On the hill, the Red Scorpions Tactical Marines opened fire on the Swarmlord with their weapons. The Tyrant Guard leapt to her defence, but when the smoke cleared all three Guard lay dead. Revving its engine, the Land Raider drove straight into the Genestealers, accompanied by the Red Scorpions Dreadnaught and surviving Lieutenant. Together, their assault pushed the Genestealers back, punishing the creatures and leaving few standing.
Scuttling along the field, the Hormagaunts continued to dash down the field towards the surviving Astartes, while the Termagants swarmed along the side of the bastion. Energy crackled around the bulbous heads of the Zoanthropes as they unleashed the psychic might of the Hive Mind, their powers tearing great holes in the Land Raider. With an alien roar, the Swarmlord barrelled into the side of the tank, her Bone Sabres slicing through the thick armour with ease. Metal shrieked as the blades sheared through the mighty tank, tearing it apart and leaving little more than a tangled wreck.
Meanwhile, accompanied by the surviving Genestealers, the Broodlord leapt at the Dreadnaught. She scuttled around it, her alien agility far faster than the Dreadnaught could match. It swung its power fist clumsily, but the alien easily evaded the attack, her Rending Claws tearing through the machine’s armour and gutting the corpse-pilot inside.
Co-ordinating and directing the firepower of his remaining Red Scorpions, Commander Culln exacted a punishing toll on the Tyranids. The remaining Genestealers were torn apart in a hail of bullets, and both the Broodlord and the Swarmlord were badly wounded by the barrage of firepower. The Tactical squad focused their firepower on the advancing Trygon, a krak missile streaking towards it and detonating with horrific force.
Attempting to overrun the Astartes, the Swarmlord, Trygon and Broodlord all charged into Culln and his Terminators. The Marines stood fast, their overwatch fire taking a vicious toll on the assaulting Tyranids thanks to Commander Culln’s orders. Claws and Bone Sabres scythed through the Marines, but Culln led the surviving Terminators forward, their Power Fists crackling and Culln’s sword glowing. Their attacks cut through the three Tyranids, cutting down both the Trygon and the Swarmlord.
Holding fast against the counter-attack, the Broodlord found herself face-to-face with Culln. Her alien reflexes kicked in, and her Rending Claws lashed out at the Astartes commander. All six attacks hit, and four wounded – but, after his armour saves and warlord trait, Culln still stood. In retalliation, his sword lashed out and finally cut the Broodlord down. Appropriately enough, this cinematic duel was the point of no return – with the death of my Broodlord, Tom had now scored more victory points than I could, and so ensured a Space Marine victory! All that was left was for the remaining Tyranids to try and exact vengeance on the seemingly invulnerable Commander Culln. Bounding forward, my thirty-strong Hormagaunt brood prepared to charge… only for me to roll a double one, and with no command points left to re-roll either! Stuck in the open, the gaunts were quickly torn apart by the disciplined firepower of the remaining Terminators and the Tactical squad, their firepower also shredding the Zoanthropes and leaving the surviving Hormagaunts out of synaptic range. Having just lost over half their number in a single round of shooting, the remaining Hormagaunts fled, leaving me with just my Termagants and Warriors in the Space Marine deployment zone. A 8-2 victory to the Red Scorpions!
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Where did it all go wrong? Well, I can tell you that – one reason was my deployment of the Hormagaunts out on the left flank, and another was bringing in the Trygon on the left flank. This meant that, while I was at first able to have several victorious rounds of combat, once Culln and his Terminators turned up I wasn’t able to muster enough manpower (bugpower?) in one place to deal with them. Turns out that, between Culln’s re-rolls, saves and the number of Apothecaries the Red Scorpions tend to have, they can create quite the firebase that’s hard to shift! Ideally I would have liked to throw my Genestealers and Broodlord at Culln and his Terminators – generally my solution to any problem in 8th edition is to throw Genestealers at it until it goes away – but their ability to Deep Strike meant that wasn’t an option. In hindsight, I should have left the Hormagaunts and Warriors alone to deal with the Tactical squad in the bastion by themselves – this would possibly have taken longer than the Trygon did (and almost certainly involved more casualties on my part), but it would have meant that the Hormagaunts were actually doing something and left the Trygon and her Termagants to help out on the right flank. Looking back, I almost should have held them back until Culln turned up, so that I could then deploy them to deal with him. Ah well, lessons learnt! It was a really fun game, particularly the way it swung from the Tyranids crushing the Red Scorpions to Culln and his elite group of veterans turning the game around to a Space Marine victory :)
It’s alright though because, in true Tyranid fashion, my Hive Fleet Leviathan is attacking multiple points along the Imperial line to find the weakest one to break through :) I’ll be playing the Invasion! scenario again this week, this time with my Tale of Gamers Tyranid force (so no Trygon, but more Carnifexes) against Mark’s Deathwatch. A second chance to break through the Imperial lines!
Until then, take care,