Warhammer 40K 8th edition battle report – 2000pts Tyranids vs T’au

The air was still, broken only by the gentle lapping of the waves at the shore and the screech of the Dhhji-birds as they wheeled overhead. Aun’ui Au’taal Draira sat cross-legged on the sand of the beach, meditating in the evening light. He closed his eyes, letting the sound of the waves roll over him.

The tranquility was broken by the sound of a Devilfish, coming in fast and low over the water. Opening his eyes, Au’taal saw the ship painted in green livery scream overhead, the pilot pulling a sharp turn to bring the ship around, landing it expertly on the beach a few hundred feet downwind from him. The ramp hit the beach and a lone Fire Warrior hurried out, dashing down the beach towards the Ethereal. As he reached the venerable T’au, he slowed and bowed his head in a gesture of respect. His training is commendable, Au’taal thought, that he remains silent until spoken to despite the urgency of his message. With a wave of his hand, the Ethereal motioned for the Shas’ui to speak.

‘Your grace, our Pathfinders have reports of hostiles approaching from the west, and fast. Your eminence, we believe-‘, he inhaled deeply, ‘-we lost communication with our teams, but we have reason to believe that the Tyranids have found this world.’

Au’taal pushed himself to his feet, brushing sand from his robes. ‘What are the odds of this information being incorrect? I was not advised that our long-range scanners had detected any Tyranid presence.’

The Shas’ui swallowed. ‘Your grace, we haven’t been able to determine how the Tyranids approached us without our systems recognizing them, but recon drones report a 98.7% bio-match between the approaching creatures and the Tyranids known as Hive Fleet Leviathan.’

Au’taal nodded. ‘Give the order to evacuate the colony, Shas’ui, and gather your squad. We must ensure that there is time for our research to be removed before those creatures arrive.’

The still evening air was pierced by the shrill wail of klaxons and sirens from the human bastion, as the T’au and their Gue’la auxiliaries hurried to the transports and defensive positions. On the horizon, Au’taal could already see the shadows of alien shapes moving towards them.

* * *

Warhammer 40,000:8th edition has been released! A friend and I were keen to try it out as soon as possible, so once our orders arrived in the post we set up the terrain and arranged our forces. His stalwart T’au would be facing off against my Hive Fleet Leviathan Tyranids. The T’au force consisted of:

Commander with Burst Cannon and Missile Pod (148pts)
Fireblade (42pts)
11 Fire Warriors (91pts)
11 Fire Warriors (91pts)
Riptide with Ion Accelerator and two Fusion Blasters (418pts)
6 Stealth Suits including one Fusion Blaster (200pts)
3 Crisis Suits with two Plasma Rifles each (192pts)
3 Broadsides with Missile Pods and Smart Missile Systems (612pts)
Hammerhead with Railgun and Smart Missile System (195pts)

Total: 1989pts

The Tyranid army consisted of:

The Swarmlord (300pts)
Broodlord (162pts)
3 Tyranid Warriors including one Barbed Strangler (83pts)
3 Tyranid Warriors including one Venom Cannon (77pts)
20 Genestealers (240pts)
30 Hormagaunts (150pts)
30 Termagants including ten Devourers (160pts)
3 Tyrant Guard (111pts)
Lictor (45pts)
3 Zoanthropes (120pts)
20 Gargoyles (120pts)
5 Spore Mines (50pts)
Trygon (175pts)
2 Carnifexes each with Monstrous Scything Talons, Devourers and a Thresher Scythe (204pts)

Total: 1997pts

The Tyranid army all ready to be deployed! I’m pretty pleased with myself that it’s almost all painted, too :)

We chose the basic ‘Only War’ mission to keep things simple, rolling the ‘Slay and Secure’ primary objective that meant that each objective marker would be worth 2vp at the end of the game to whoever controlled it – and that, if we managed to slay the other person’s warlord, we’d earn an extra D3 victory points. I chose the Swarmlord as my warlord, while Tom went for his Commander.

Deployment on the left flank…

…and on the right.

Deploying Termagants that close together?? But what about blast templa-oooohhh :)

T’au turn 1

Perhaps unsurprisingly, very little of the T’au army moved! The mighty Riptide advanced forward, bringing its heavy weapons into short range. With a fizzle of dissipating energy, a team of Stealth Suits appeared on the right flank near the Tyranid Warriors, accompanied by a roar of jets as a team of Crisis Suits boldly landed in front of the Swarmlord. Jet-pack engines blazing, the T’au commander joined his forces, landing alongside the Stealth suits.

With a crackle of energy the Riptide opened fire on the Swarmlord, dealing a total of six wounds. The nearby Tyrant Guard were ready, though, two of them leaping in the way to sacrifice themselves for the swarm leader. The Crisis Suits added their weapons to the barrage, most of the shots bouncing off the Swarmlord’s chitinous carapace and the remaining Tyrant Guard. Pulse rifles barked as the Fire Warriors and Fireblade shot too, though all of their shots bounced off the Swarmlord. On the far right flank, the Stealth Suits burst cannons whirred into life, obliterating one of the Tyranid Warriors in a hail of fire. The Commander fired into the warriors, wounding one, but unable to finish it.

Planting their feet firmly in the ground, the Broadsides loosed a barrage of missiles into the Swarmlord. When the smoke cleared, the final Tyrant Guard was dead and the mighty Tyrant was reduced to two wounds. The second squad of Fire Warriors wounded a Carnifex, while the Hammerhead Gunship brought its weapons to bear on the Zoanthropes. The psychic will of the creatures were strong, though, deflecting the railgun rounds.

Tyranid turn 1

As one, the swarm advanced. The ground rumbled as a Trygon burst forth near the Hammerhead, six-limbed Genestealers swarming out of the tunnel it left behind. A section of wall seemed to detach itself from the ruined cathedral as a Lictor shimmered into view, appearing near the Crisis Suits. Overhead, Spore Mines drifted lazily to earth near the Broadsides, their tendrils wafting in the breeze.

Psychic energy crackled around the craniums of the Zoanthropes, their powers dealing a single mortal wound to the Hammerhead from Smite. The Swarmlord used her connection to the Hive Mind to Smite the Crisis Suits, though I had to spend my first command point to cast it. She also cast Catalyst on herself, hoping to weather the next round of T’au shooting.

The Carnifexes fired their Devourers at the Crisis Suits, the brainleech worms managing to burrow through their armour to the soft pilot inside and killing one Crisis Suit. The Tyranid Warriors fired at the Stealth Suits, but the T’au technology proved more than adequate as their weapons failed to hurt the shimmering figures. Meanwhile the Termagants and Gargoyles rounded the building to shoot at the Broadsides, but again the T’au armour proved impervious to their weapons as dead Fleshborer beetles pattered against the thick hulls and fell to the ground, their short lifespan expended trying to burrow through the armour. The Warriors fared better, their Venom Cannon taking a wound from the Hammerhead.

With a sibilant hiss the Hormagaunts bounded into the T’au Fire Warriors, their Bounding Leap ability letting them engage the Stealth Suits, Commander, Fireblade and Crisis Suits too! The Genestealers tried to charge the Hammerhead, but failed to reach it even with a re-roll from another precious command point. Incredibly the Trygon also failed to charge, as the Hammerhead’s Rail Cannon overwatch hit the creature and took off six wounds! The Gargoyles managed to charge into the Broadsides, though fully half their number was shot from the air as they did so. One Carnifex barreled into the Crisis Suits along with the Swarmlord, while the second Carnifex attacked the Riptide. Finally, my remaining Warriors on the right flank charged into the Stealth Suits.

The Hormagaunts set about them with their Scything Talons, wounding a Stealth Suit and the Fireblade before cutting down six Fire Warriors. In response the Fireblade cut down two Hormagaunts, and the Fire Warriors drew their ritual blades to kill two more. The Warriors killed a Stealth Suit, but in return were beaten down by the T’au stealth suits. More worryingly, both the Swarmlord and the Carnifex fluffed their rolls and failed to hurt the Crisis Suits, though the T’au pilots were unable to hurt them in return. With a bellowing roar the Carnifex slammed into the Riptide, its Monstrous Scything Talons cutting through the advanced technology with brute force to deal 3 damage to the battlesuit. The Gargoyles flapped ineffectively at the Broadsides, who swung their heavy fists to smash one of the creatures out of the air, killing it. Five of the Fire Warriors lost their courage and fled, abandoning their remaining comrade to the Hormagaunts. Over-extended and out of Synapse range, the remaining Gargoyles took flight and fled the battlefield.

T’au turn 2

The Fireblade and the remaining Fire Warrior fell back from combat, as did the Crisis Suits and the Riptide. As the mighty battlesuit fell back, its weapons barked again, but both the Carnifex and the Swarmlord survived the barrage. The Stealth Suits and Crisis Suits added their weapons to the fusilade, but the Swarmlord’s Catalyst power held firm and she saved all the wounds. A pinpoint volley of missiles from the Broadsides dealt two damage to a Carnifex, and dealt five damage to the other one to leave it on two wounds left! Seeing the rapidly approaching Tyranids, the Hammerhead’s crew brought its weapons around to fire again, but were only able to kill a single Genestealer. Finally, in an attempt to bring her down, the remaining Fire Warrior squad shot the Swarmlord, dealing a single wound – hoping to keep her alive, I opted to spend another command point and managed to save the wound.

Carnage erupts as the Tyranids reach the T’au lines.

Tyranids turn 2

Tasting blood and seeing the enemy falling back, the swarm continued to advance into the T’au lines. The Swarmlord summoned the psychic energies of the Hive Mind to Catalyst herself before casting Smite on the Crisis Suits for two wounds, while the Zoanthropes dealt three wounds to the Broadsides with their own Smite power. On the left flank, the Broodlord also cast Smite to take two wounds off the Hammerhead, psychic power tearing chunks of metal from the elegant T’au vehicle.

Termagants swarm past the forest towards the T’au artillery battlesuits.

The Carnifexes managed to wound the Riptide with their Devourers, the frenzied beetles managing to bore through even the advanced armour of the T’au battlesuit. A hail of fire hit the tenacious Broadside battlesuits from both the Termagants and the nearby Warriors, but the combined fire only managed to deal a single wound to the T’au artillery.

Moving into combat, one of my Carnifexes charged into the Riptide, taking an astounding four wounds from overwatch fire as its twin followed it in. The Hormagaunts charged into the T’au commander, losing a couple of their number to his Burst Cannon, while on the far side of the field the Genestealers and the Trygon barreled into the Hammerhead. Meanwhile, the Lictor charged into the Crisis Suits. The Swarmlord followed her, but calamity struck as Tom’s Crisis Suits used the T’au army-wide ability For The Greater Good, opening fire on her and bringing the mighty Hive Tyrant down! Ah well, at least she’ll just be reabsorbed by the swarm to be reincarnated soon :)

The Genestealers fell upon the Hammerhead in a sea of claws, tearing open hatches and scuttling inside. Their ferocious attack tore the tank apart, rupturing one of the delicate fusion-reactors in the process and causing an explosion of plasmic energy that killed one Genestealer and took another two wounds off the Trygon. The Lictor tore apart the remaining Crisis Battlesuit, while the Carnifexes dealt another six damage to the Riptide. Battered and rent, the mighty T’au battlesuit continued to operate, though it was unable to deal any damage back to the Carnifexes.

The Genestealers and the Trygon tear apart the Hammerhead…

…while the Carnifexes continue to attack the tough-as-nails Riptide.

In a sea of claws and ferocity, the Hormagaunts fell upon the unfortunate T’au commander, tearing his suit apart in a frenzy of attacks and taking Tom’s warlord from full wounds to 0 in a single round of combat! Two Fire Warriors also fell to their wicked Scything Talons, though the T’au gave as good as they got with their ritual blades and killed two Hormagaunts in retaliation. Far from Synapse and out of control after killing the T’au commander, two Hormagaunts fell to Battleshock.

T’au turn 3

Red lights blinking and alarms sounding inside the cockpit, the pilot of the Riptide drew his mighty battlesuit back again from the Carnifexes, readying its weapons for another barrage. Nearby the Fire Warriors also fell back from the Hormagaunts, while the Stealth Suits moved towards the Carnifexes to support their brethren. The Riptide opened fire again, this time killing one of the Carnifexes. The Stealth Suits opened fire on the Lictor, reducing it to one wound, while the Broadside battle suits re-targeted their weapons on the Zoanthropes this time, their barrage of high-impact rockets proving too much for even the psychic might of the creatures and killing one.

Tyranid turn 3

In retaliation, the Zoanthropes unleashed another blast of psychic energy with Smite that wounded a Broadside. The Trygon’s Bio-Electric Pulse overloaded the Broadsides’ systems, causing another wound. The Termagants opened fire on the Riptide this time, the sheer volume of fire from their Devourers finding some of the cracks in its armour caused by the Carnifexes and dealing another wound. Readying itself for a charge, the Lictor’s flesh hooks whipped out to wound one of the Stealth Suits.

Bursting from the woods, the Genestealers attempted to charge the Broadsides. Three of them died to overwatch, and my charge roll wasn’t quite enough to reach them. In an attempt to finally deal with the tenacious T’au, I used my last command point to re-roll one dice and managed to make the charge. The Broodlord also failed to reach the Broadsides, while the Lictor died to the Stealth Suit’s overwatch fire. Both the Termagants and the remaining Carnifex tried to charge the Riptide, but failed to reach it. Finally, in a moment of stupidity, I tried to charge the Hormagaunts into the Riptide, only to roll a double one. In hindsight, I should have charged the Fire Warriors – not only were they within 2″, but the Hormagaunt’s Bounding Leap ability would have then let them reach the Riptide as they piled in. Ah well, lesson learnt….

The T’au left flank begins to collapse as the Genestealers sweep onwards into the Broadsides.

The Genestealers attacked the Broadsides, their Rending Claws cutting through the armour to deal eight wounds and drag down two Broadsides.

T’au turn 4

Things were beginning to look a little bleak for the T’au, as the Tyranid left flank of Genestealers finally reached the main battle line and began to cut a swathe through them. The Riptide moved back from combat, as did the remaining Broadside, while the Stealth Suits moved further forward to reinforce the T’au lines. Their Burst Cannons whirred again, failing to wound the Carnifex but killing two Termagants and a Genestealer. The Riptide’s weapons fired again, though fate favoured the Carnifex as it only took one wound, surviving with a single wound left. Under the command of the nearby Fireblade, the remaining Fire Warrior squad – who I had discounted compared to the threat of the Riptide and Broadsides – suddenly let loose a volley of accurate fire, killing ten Genestealers and reducing the unit to two models! At least the Synapse Broodlord was still nearby to keep them in check.

My remaining Carnifex lives on, but how long can it survive…

Tyranid turn 4

Still moving as one under the guiding influence of the Hive Mind, the swarm of Hive Fleet Leviathan continued its advance on the remaining Tyranid forces. The Broodlord cast Smite on the final Broadside, though the tenacious battlesuit still stood. However, the Zoanthropes floated up to the abandoned bunker, their craniums cracking with nebulous energy as they finally dealt the killing blow and blew the Riptide apart in a storm of psychic power!

Finally the Broadsides are defeated by the Hive Mind.

The Termagants fired a hail of beetles into the Stealth Suits, the voracious little creatures managing to burrow through the armour of one unfortunate T’au and kill him. In an attempt to capitalize on this success the Termagants tried to charge the Stealth Suits, but failed to reach them. The Carnifex also prepared to charge, but the Shas’ui stood firm and a searing beam from his Fusion Blaster finally killed the titanic Tyranid. The Hormagaunts, however, charged into the Fire Warriors before using their Bounding Leap ability to also engage the Stealth Suits, their Scything Talons cutting down five Fire Warriors and one Stealth Suit. Ritual blades drawn, the Fire Warriors cut down one Genestealer to leave me with one left.

T’au turn 5

The T’au forces disengaged again, but the Fire Warriors were still surrounded by Tyranids. Nearby, the Stealth Suits fired their Burst Cannons in an attempt to thin the horde, but to no avail as they failed to land any wounds.

Tyranid turn 5

The Zoanthropes and Broodlord both cast Smite, killing a couple of Stealth Suits. Another fusilade of shots from the Termagants killed another, and the Warriors finally brought their Venom cannon to bear to wound another.

In a moment of over-confidence, I declared that my Broodlord would lead the charge into the Stealth Suits. Again, the Shas’ui stood his ground, his Fusion Blaster hitting my Broodlord and dealing five wounds to take her down to her last wound! The Fire Warriors joined in with their For The Greater Good, and in a hail of Pulse Rifle fire my Broodlord fell. In an attempt to make up for my over-confidence and finish off the remaining T’au forces, my Hormagaunts and remaining Genestealer charged back into the fray. The Hormagaunts managed to kill a Fire Warrior and wound the Fireblade, but the few survivours of the T’au force still stood defiently.

Turn five complete – in the immortal words of Private Hudson, ‘Game over, man! Game over!’. Neither of us had managed to completely wipe out the other (despite some pretty heavy casualties on both sides of the board!), so it came down to objectives. Tom had killed my Warlord and rolled 2vp, while I rolled 3vp for killing his. Combined with my Trygon and Termagants holding two objectives, the game ended in a 7-2 victory for the Tyranids!

The surviving (and victorious) Tyranid models.

* * *

That was a really enjoyable game. From what I can tell after the first experience, 8th edition plays more neatly than 7th edition – it’s great having most of the rules included in the unit’s profile, and changes like the new WS and the removal of initiative help to speed the game up. On the latter one there, I was worried that was something I wouldn’t like, but with the reintroduction of the movement stat and ‘charging units go first’ it’s not such a big deal. Generally, fast units you’d expect to strike first (such as Genestealers and Hormagaunts, for example) have a high enough movement stat that they can basically dictate when and where they’ll get in melee, allowing them to strike first by virtue of charging. The psychic phase was another part of the game that stood out to me as a fantastic change – it’s far simpler to cast powers now, and (at least the Tyranid ones and Smite) feel more like you’re supporting and buffing your army rather than having your psykers run riot doing all the work!

So, what stood out in this game? The Fly ability being on so many battlesuits is incredible, allowing large parts of the T’au army to fall back from combat and still fire at full effectiveness – just as I’ve always envisioned them to do! It makes them a very mobile and hard-hitting army, since you can’t just tie them up in combat to avoid the damage they can (and will!) put out with those ranged weapons. The Broadsides and the Riptide in particular pack an awful lot of firepower, which is made even more potent by the ability to fire weapons at different targets nowadays. On the subject of my Tyranid army, I learnt that 12 wounds and toughness 6 are not enough by themselves to keep my beloved Swarmlord alive, and I still need to be more careful where I deploy her! The Hormagaunts and Genestealers are incredible combat units, and the Bounding Leap of the former is just amazing – perfect to charge one unit and then leap over them to engage two or three others without risking their overwatch! I can imagine that gunline armies without Fly will have to be very careful with their positioning, and Hormagaunts will be a priority unit for them to target. On the other side of the coin, I didn’t feel like I got much use out of the Spore Mines thanks to their slow movement, and the Gargoyles were a bit of a let-down (though I think I sent them at the wrong target, so that one may be on me – I was hoping to tie down the Broadsides, not expecting the Gargoyles to completely disappear within one turn!).

Well, that’s a quick write-up of my thoughts after the first game. Looking forward to Wednesday now, when my Tyranids get to hit the table again!

Take care,

Ben

Kill-Team battle reports

In preparation for an event I’m attending in the near future, some friends and I met up one evening last week for a couple of kill-team games. I’d already decided what kill-team I want to use at this event, going for a Tyranid force comprised of:

Broodlord – kill-team Leader with the Been there, Seen it, Done it trait and (subsequently) the Feel No Pain Indomitable Specialist skill.
3 Genestealers
1 Genestealer with Scything Talons.
1 Genestealer – Dirty Fighter Specialist with the Murderous Blows skill.
1 Genestealer – Guerilla Specialist with the Preferred Enemy skill.
1 Zoanthrope – Weapon Specialist with the Expert Shot skill.

Total: 196pts

I’ve been having great fun playing my Tyranids since restarting them recently, and the idea of an alien kill-team is really enjoyable. Plus, it means that I get to make loads of Aliens / Starship Troopers / Jurassic Park references during each game (‘How could they cut the power, man!? They’re animals!‘ ‘You kill anything that has more than two legs, you get me?‘ ‘Shoot her!‘). Unfortunately I haven’t finished painting my Broodlord yet and, more importantly, the Zoanthropes I’ve ordered hadn’t arrived. Luckily, my friends graciously let me use a Ripper Swarm as a stand-in, since they’re both on the same size base. Psychic Rippers, now there’s a terrifying thought – something for the Hive Mind to start evolving for 8th edition!

* * *

The night was still, the quiet broken only by the chirruping of the local wildlife amongst the ruins. Estoria’s three moons hung low in the sky, bathing the world in a feeble light and casting a monochrome shade over the crumbling buildings. Their pale moonlight illuminated the PDF trenchline as it snaked its way through the city, but the encampment was abandoned. No men manned the vantage points, no soldiers sat at the guns. It was as if the whole company had simply vanished without a trace.

The Space Marines moved almost silently despite their size, panning their boltguns around in slow, sweeping motions. Each Astartes moved in unison, covering each other as the squad advanced. Ahead, Battle-Brother Kurt held up one gauntleted hand for the squad to stop, the other gripping his auspex. His voice crackled over the comm-links in their helmets. ‘Brothers, I read movement ahead. Multiple signals in the ruins, and closing.’

‘Brother Nova, join him to investigate. Brothers Nate and Shiflett, form a secondary team and follow my lead’ Brother-Sergeant Grohl ordered. Fanning out, the Space Marines moved cautiously forward.

All around, in the darkness of the ruins, alien eyes watched them.

* * *

Game one pitted my bugs against Mark’s Space Marines in a game of Head Hunt. His forces consisted of four Space Marines led by their leader, Brother-Sergeant Grohl, and accompanied by heavy armour in the form of a a lascannon-armed Razorback tank. The Space Marines deployed close together, with the Razorback and three marines kept in reserve thanks to Brother-Sergeant Grohl’s A Cunning Ruse ability. I deployed most of my Genestealers hidden away in the ruins, with the Broodlord on a separate flank and the Zoanthrope – as the only model without Infiltrate – a bit further back in my deployment zone.

The Space Marines fan out as the Genestealers creep through the ruins.

Getting closer and closer…

The game started slowly as the Genestealers clung to the shadows of the ruins, avoiding the incoming fire from the Space Marines. At the start of the second turn the Razorback roared onto the board, its twin-linked lascannon turret traversing and blasting a shot at my Broodlord. She was clearly a tough specimen, however, as she shrugged off the potent shot. In response, my Genestealers moved out of cover and prepared to assault. The Broodlord thundered into the newly-arrived Astartes tank, her razor-sharp rending claws cutting through the armour and immobilizing the vehicle with a shriek of tortured gears. Meanwhile, one of the Genestealers scrambled up the side of the nearby abandoned PDF trenchline, launching itself at Brother-Sergeant Grohl in a diving charge. Sensing the creature, the Brother-Sergeant swung around, his arcane plasma pistol already in his armoured hand… only for calamity to strike as the fusion coils of the weapon overheated, detonating in a spectacular white-hot explosion and vaporizing the unfortunate marine.

Brother-Sergeant Grohl about to meet his end.

The Broodlord engages the Razorback.

Undeterred by this loss, his fellow marines pumped bolter rounds and meltagun shots into the Broodlord, but she continued to be tenacious and shrugged off all but one of the wounds thanks to Feel No Pain. The Genestealers, meanwhile, quickly closed the gap and started attacking the Astartes in close quarters as the Broodlord continued to attack the Razorback, her claws tearing off the turret and leaving the vehicle helpless. As turn five drew to a close, we rolled to see if the game would continue. Rolling a one, the game ended with every Tyranid model still alive (somehow!) and a 7-0 victory to the Tyranids.

A wave of chitin and claw falls upon the surviving Space Marines.

* * *

Colonel Jenson sipped the mug of hot recaff as much to warm his hands as to wake him up. Nights were bitter and cold on this Emperor-forsaken rock, and long too. Due to some quirk of the planet’s rotation, nights stretched to twenty Terran hours, leaving little of each day in the pale light of the sun.

He didn’t even know why they were here, to be honest. Command had briefed him about some insurgent rebellion, but by the time the regiment had arrived it seemed to be all but dealt with. Yet they were still stuck here, garrisoned out in the edges of the city.

All around him, giant floodlights were mounted on poles, cables trailing to and from generators which buzzed with a constant low hum. Despite their power, the lights barely penetrated the night, the darkness seeming to almost swallow up the light. Jenson didn’t care. Just a couple more hours of tedious sentry duty before his platoon was relieved, and he could retire to the officer’s quarters for some proper rest.

His reverie was broken by a shout from one of the sentries. ‘Look sir, movement!’ Straining his eyes into the darkness, Jenson glimpsed what the sentry had seen – inhuman multi-limbed shapes moving towards their position – and fast. Dropping his mug and drawing his plasma pistol, he shouted orders to his men. ‘Forward positions, two ranks! Targets at six o’clock, light them up!’ Around him Guardsmen scrambled forward to the sandbags, the distinctive snap-crack of lasguns piercing the night as the shadowy alien creatures abandoned stealth and dashed forward towards the line.

* * *

We rolled the Infiltrate the Camp scenario for my second game – this time taking on Tom and his Imperial Guard garrison. I won the roll-off to decide who was the attacker, and it seemed appropriate for the Tyranids to be trying to run through an Imperial Guard road-block. I deployed my force on one flank, hoping to maximise the cover to close the distance without too many casualties. In response, Tom’s Guardsmen deployed opposite, creating a two-man deep wall of bodies and lasguns. As the night started to fade away, my Tyranids prepared to run the gauntlet to punch through the Imperial lines!

The Imperial Guard blockade.

My Tyranids hug cover as they prepare to advance on the road block.

The Tyranids moved up the board with surprisingly few casualties, mainly due to the difference between the lasgun’s strength of 3 and the fact that all my models were at least toughness 4. Drawing upon the powers of its advanced mind, the Zoanthrope vaporized a few of the Guardsmen with its Warp Blast, scoring me a vp for First Blood and thinning down the line a little. A couple of Genestealers were gunned down by the Guardsmen, with a third killed by overwatch shots as it attempted to charge.

‘Fall back! Fall back!’ The Guardsmen panic as the Genestealers reach their lines and start to break through.

Having survived the barrage of lasgun fire, the remaining Genestealers cut their way through the Imperial Guardsmen.

The rest of the Genestealers, led by the Broodlord, made it into combat and promptly started to cut a swathe through the defenders in an attempt to break through to the table edge behind them. At the end of turn five I’d managed to get most of my remaining models behind the Guardsmen, with the Broodlord, Zoanthrope and a Genestealer running off the board at the start of turn six. The remaining two Genestealers chanced their luck, charging an unlucky Guardsman who was loitering too close to the board edge. The first Genestealer disembowelled the unfortunate man, and both managed to roll high enough to consolidate off the board. With five models escaped and three killed, the game ended in a 6-1 victory for the Tyranids!

The survivors of my kill-team who made it off the board, ready to now wreak some havoc behind Imperial lines!

Two very fun games, and I’m pretty happy with my kill-team. Just need to finish painting my Broodlord and the objective markers, and paint the Zoanthrope (which has now arrived). Hopefully I’ll get some more games in soon, and will report back!

Take care,

Ben

Tale of Gamers: Part 1.5

After my disastrous performance last week and, as one of our group wasn’t able to make it down, we arranged another Tale Of Gamers game this week. There was conflict in the Ordos this week, as Ariada and her force went up against a Deathwatch kill-team! Who had sent this rival Deathwatch force, and what was their agenda?

* * *

The first turn saw Ariada and her retinue advancing into cover, and Ariada had clearly been practising her psychic powers as she managed to cast Forewarning on her unit. Safe behind the psychic barrier, I ran them out of cover and forwards to close the distance to the nearby Deathwatch squad. Meanwhile, my own Deathwatch kill-team ‘Andromeda’ advanced in the open, moving up towards Artemis. The Jokaero, deployed separately from my Inquisitorial retinue this time, aimed his digi-weapons at the Venerable Dreadnaught, but missed the hulking machine.

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Inquisitor Ariada du Bois and her retinue move forward.

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The opposing Deathwatch forces.

In response, Mark’s Deathwatch squad moved forward, the Infernus-pattern Heavy Bolter chattering as they advanced and cutting down a couple of Acolytes. Meanwhile, Artemis and the Venerable Dreadnaught opened fire on kill-team Andromeda, the Plasma Cannon vaporising the watch sergeant and Artemis’ Boltgun taking another one down. Despite being hard-bitten veteran Space Marines and the presence of a Commissar amongst them, kill-team Andromeda promptly rolled a double six for their morale check, falling back from the overwhelming firepower directed at them.

Turn two started with a roar of engines and rotor-blades as Inquisitorial drop-ships swung in low, hatches thrown open as both squads of my Stormtroopers disembarked. Team Alpha landed behind the Venerable Dreadnaught, opening fire with both Plasma Guns at short range. Despite inflicting two penetrating hits, I managed to roll two one’s on the damage table, leaving the Dreadnaught standing. Squad Beta opted for a safer deployment, landing within 6″ of Ariada’s mystic to avoid scattering. This did put them at long range, however, and they were only able to land a couple of wounds on Mark’s Deathwatch. Once again, the Jokaero missed the Dreadnaught with his Digi-Weapons. Ariada and her retinue charged into the remaining Deathwatch marines, the Death-Cult Assassins striking first thanks to their I6… and wiping out the whole unit in a flurry of Power Sword attacks. Maybe this is where I was going wrong in previous games, as I never managed to get these two into combat before!

With just Artemis and the Venerable Dreadnaught left, Mark’s Deathwatch went for an all-out offensive. Artemis opened up with his flamer, finishing off the remaining Acolytes before charging into my Inquisitor and her retinue. The Death-Cult Assassins managed to land a wound on Artemis before he struck back, cutting them both down to avenge his fallen brothers. Ariada du Bois’ Power Sword flashed, though, taking Captain Artemis down to his last wound. The Venerable Dreadnaught, unable to fire its Plasma Cannon, charged into Stormtrooper squad Alpha – however, the veteran Inquisition troops had some rather spectacular rolling, as the overwatch fire from their Plasma Guns finished off the Dreadnaught before it could reach them.

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Bursts of plasma fire bring down the mighty Venerable Dreadnaught.

Onto turn three! Seeing Ariada’s retinue engaging Artemis, the Commissar and kill-team ‘Andromeda’ moved forward, rolling high enough to charge into the opposing Deathwatch captain. Artemis and Inquisitor du Bois were engaged in a cinematic duel, power weapons flashing as they blocked and parried one another. Artemis landed a wound on Ariada, while her attacks in return were blocked by his Iron Halo. The showdown was brought to an abrupt ending as – in a rather anti-climactic ending – the charging Deathwatch kill-team ganged up on Artemis, clubbing him down with their shotgun butts. As the Stormtroopers moved onto the objectives, the Inquisition claimed a victory at last!

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Captain Artemis and Inquisitor Ariada prepare for a climatic showdown…

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…only for my Deathwatch kill-team to steal the glory and club Artemis down with their shotgun butts.

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Inquisitorial Stormtroopers move through the tangle of tank-traps and razorwire.

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Stormtrooper squad beta moves onto the objective.

* * *

This seemed to go a lot better than my last couple of games – while I’m sure that part of it was down to the AP3 Power weapons and Hellguns in my army, I think that having the Jokaero separate from the rest of Ariada’s retinue was a big help as it allowed her to move around freely without having to worry about the Jokaero firing (though, to be fair, the little creature couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn this game!). Similarly, deep-striking the Stormtroopers was a massive help in taking out priority targets such as the Dreadnaught, and made them much more effective than before when they were foot-slogging it across the field. I’m learning, slowly! :P

I’ve made a start on painting the next 250pts – just base coats so far, but it’s progress at least. Also picked up Michele McLaughlin’s latest album to listen to while painting, which – if you like piano music – I would highly recommend :)

20170221_180244Take care,

Ben

Returning to the grim darkness of the far future

You have been told of the Inquisition; that shadowy organisation which defends Mankind and the Emperor from the perils of heresy, possession, alien dominance and rebellion.
You have been told the Inquisition are the ultimate defence against the phantoms of fear and terror which lurk in the darkness between the stars.
You have been told the Inquisition are the bright saviours in an eclipse of evil; purest and most devoted warriors of the Emperor.
You have been told the Inquisition is united in its cause to rid the galaxy of any threat, from without or within.

Everything you have been told is a lie!

* * *

I’ve joined in with a Tale Of Gamers that’s being run by my local club, and next Wednesday is the end of the first month when we’re all meant to have painted our first 500pts. I’ve still got a bit of work to do on mine in finishing my Inquisitor and painting my Stormtroopers, but I’m confident that I can get them all done over the weekend :) It’s been a few years now since I last played Warhammer 40K – in fact, I don’t think I’ve actually played 7th edition at all – so this week I decided to get a practise game in to refresh my memory of the rules.

We went for a small 524pt game (an odd value!), so I just chucked a couple of extra Stormtroopers into my 500pt force. My opponent ran his Archon along with nine Warriors in a Raider, accompanied by ten Warriors in another Raider and three Reaver jetbikes. I chose Inquisitor Ariada du Bois as my warlord (I think this epitomises my attitude to this – I know enough that tactically it makes more sense to have the Commissar as my warlord since then I’d get two warlord traits, but this is an Inquisitorial task force, so of course the Inquisitor has to be the one in charge!), rolling Unquestionable Wisdom on the Ordo Xenos table. Deploying in the ruins of an Imperial city, our forces prepared to battle!

20170208_190833The Inquisition went first, with the psychic energies ebbing low as Ariada failed to cast Prescience. Despite this, the Jokaero in her retinue fired off a beam of blinding energy from one of his digi-weapons, the shot slicing through the Archon’s raider and sending it crashing to the ground in flames! Devoid of his transport, the Archon and remaining bodyguards moved forward into cover while the second Raider swung around, the Eldar warriors on board firing their weapons at the Deathwatch kill team. Two of the marines fell, but the remaining warriors held their nerve. On the other side of the field, the Reaver jetbikes sped forward, preparing to charge the nearby Stormtroopers. The resulting overwatch fire decimated the unit, as the veteran Inquisitorial troops killed two of the three jetbikes. Perhaps seeing what had just happened to his companions, the remaining Reaver failed to roll high enough to engage the Stormtroopers.

20170208_195244With a thunder of rotor-blades and the scream of jet engines, my second squad of Stormtroopers arrived via drop-ship, opening fire on the Archon’s retinue and whittling them down to just a few models left. The veteran Stormtroopers finished off the remaining Reaver, while the Deathwatch pumped high-velocity shells from their shotguns into the nearby Raider, reducing it to one hull point. The Jokaero was unable to repeat his previous success and so, krak grenades in hand, the Deathwatch charged into the Raider. Another marine was cut down by the blizzard of overwatch fire, but one of the remaining marines managed to attach a grenade to the vehicle… only to roll low and fail to beat the armour, leaving the Raider mobile. In response, the troops on-board finished off the Deathwatch, while the Archon’s squad killed a couple of the newly-arrived Stormtroopers. Rolling a double 6 for their morale, the squad turned tail and fled…. a mighty 2 inches as they rolled a double 1 for their movement :P

20170208_195252The third turn started with the Jokaero missing the Raider (again!) and, perhaps foolishly in hindsight, both squads of Stormtroopers opened fire on the Archon and his retinue. The sustained firing of their plasma weapons suddenly showed, though, as both the Commisar’s plasma pistol and the other squad’s plasma gun exploded, killing their users. The remaining shots finished off the warriors protecting the Archon, though his xenos technology kept him safe from the barrage of hellgun fire. In response, the warriors on-board the Raider finished off one squad of Stormtroopers, while the Archon moved forward and gunned down the remaining models in the other squad with the assistance of the Raider’s dark lance.

20170208_202830Finding herself alone with scant few members of her retinue left, Ariada ended up in hand-to-hand combat with the Dark Eldar Archon. The Jokaero sacrificed itself to save her, and her power sword cut through the eldar’s armour to wound it. Realising that it wouldn’t be enough, Ariada hit the displacement field generator built in to her power armour, teleporting away from the alien leader as Inquisition drop-ships arrived to extract the wounded survivors. A victory to the dark eldar!

It was a rather enjoyable game, which started off well and seemed to go downhill for Ariada and her force. I think my mistake was leaving the second Raider alive – being able to fly around and unleash upwards of 18 shots each turn meant it was able to absolutely decimate my squads, which quickly whittled my forces down. The Archon passing so many invulnerable and Feel No Pain saves didn’t help either :P I think it’s solidified the rules in my head, so I’d better crack on and finish painting the Stormtroopers. Next week I’ll write up a report of their first game, so hope to see you then.

Take care,

Ben

My first X-Wing tournament

Last weekend, I attended my first X-Wing tournament at Fanboy Three in Manchester. Driving down with a friend, I brought a slightly modified version of the list I’d originally intended to use at a tournament last year (which in the end I couldn’t make it to, sadly). It features my favourite ship, the IG-2000, with matching upgrades to minimise chances of me forgetting anything(!).

IG-88B (36)
Veteran Instincts (1)
Heavy Laser Cannon (7)
Fire Control System (2)
IG2000 title (0)
Black Market Slicer Tools (1)
Autothrusters (2)

IG-88C (36)
Veteran Instincts (1)
Heavy Laser Cannon (7)
Fire Control System (2)
IG2000 title (0)
Black Market Slicer Tools (1)
Autothrusters (2)

ig2000My first game pitted me against another scum player, with a beautifully-repainted Firespray piloted by Kath Scarlett and a Shadow Caster with Asaaj Ventress. For the first half of the game my green dice were perfect, with both IG’s dodging all fire like they were teflon-coated! I managed to put down Kath with some focused heavy laser cannon fire, but lost IG-88B shortly afterwards to the Shadow Caster, and IG-88C took some heavy damage that left him without shields and only one hull left. I quickly realised that I couldn’t afford to turn my remaining shieldless IG-2000 around with a K-turn or Sengor’s Loop as I wouldn’t be able to chew through her remaining hull before she took me down with the return fire, and so kept boosting away to try and reach the end of the time limit – at which point the game would be decided by a final salvo, where the odds were slightly better for me. By this point we were reaching the end of the round, and time was called on my opponent’s turn. He completed his last manoeuvre, took his last shot – and, with a roll of blanks that balanced out my epic rolling earlier, IG-88C was shot out of the sky.

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And so game one begins…

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My first kill of the day! Kath Scarlett is focused down by my two assassin droids.

Amusingly, my second game was against my regular opponent who had come down with me! He was running the Millennium Falcon piloted by Han Solo, with Corran Horn in his E-Wing. I managed to get IG-88B behind the Falcon with his S-loop, while IG-88C turned around to flank Han. Unfortunately the Falcon then had a couple of bad turns where it hit asteroids, preventing it from firing back and allowing the assassin droids to take it down with sustained heavy laser cannon fire. Corran Horn swung back into the fight, but wasn’t able to face off against both IG’s at once, and went down to their guns in short order for a 100-0 victory. I felt quite bad about this one, as it could have been very different if the Falcon hadn’t hit those asteroids two turns in a row!

My third game was against the might of the Empire, featuring the Inquisitor in his TIE Advanced, Colonel Vessery and Omega Leader. Most of our ships deployed down one side of the board, with the Inquisitor on the opposite side. The first few turns were filled with jousting as both my IG’s and my opponent’s TIE/fo & Defender K-turning repeatedly. IG-88B was hammered by Vessery and taken down to his last hull point before I managed to finish off Omega Leader. IG-88B fell soon after as the Inquisitor raced into the fight, leaving IG-88C alone again. Not for long, though, as the combined firepower of the Imperial aces cut him down. Chatting with my opponent after the game, he confided that my mistake was going after Omega Leader – seeing his pilot ability and considering my usual reliance on the target locks from Fire Control System, I’d assumed that he should be my priority target – but he advised that I should’ve gone for one of the damage-dealers and left the TIE/fo for last. Lesson learned!

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I try to joust against Vessery and Omega Leader.

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IG-88C swings around with a Sengor’s Loop as IG-88B flees with one hull left!

My final game put me up against the Imperials again – Rear Admiral Chinnerau with Darth Vader and a Gunner on board, and a TIE Phantom piloted by Whisper. I like using the Phantom myself but haven’t really been on the receiving end, so was wary of the decloak shenanigans that she can pull. Once again in a moment of deja vu IG-88B was the first to be shot down, leaving his fellow brobot alone. I put Whisper down with a burst of range 1 firepower, leaving each of us with just one ship left. It was at this point that I realised how deadly his crew combination was, as Chinnerau doesn’t actually need to even hit in order to trigger Vader – so, thanks to his Gunner, he was able to potentially trigger Vader twice a turn. We finally ended up facing each other down, IG-88C on three hull points with a focus token, and Chinnerau on five hull. He attacked, rolling one hit, and I rolled three eyeballs for my defence. Considering the earlier turns where I’d managed to evade Chinnerau’s shots only to be hit twice by Vader, I opted to take the hit in the hopes of being able to return fire and finish off Chinnerau. He chose to use Vader’s ability…. and I flipped a direct hit from my deck, finishing off IG-88C. A very close game in the end!

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I learn first-hand how deadly Darth Vader is!

After all that, the day was great fun and I certainly learnt some lessons on X-Wing tacticsa and strategies. All of my opponents were really nice people, and all the games were really enjoyable. It was nice that two of the three losses were rather close games that could have gone either way. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye open for any other X-Wing tournaments near me in the future.

Take care,

Ben

Malifaux battle report: The Train Heist

Cue the music and turn the volume right up – it’s time for a classic train robbery!

* * *

Toni was bored.

The train clattered through the surrounding forests, with nothing but trees and more trees to see on either side.The carriage was mostly empty, with a group of Union workers playing cards at one end with a few showgirls a few seats down. One of the performers had joined in their card game, and by all accounts seemed to be doing rather well.

For the first part of the journey she’d amused herself by working out, using the metal bars along the roof for chinups and the wooden benches for dips. After that, she’d read the book she’d brought with her – a dense tome of the philosophy of neo-Confucianism. Once she’d finished that, she ended up staring out of the window at the endless trees, drumming her fingers on one knee.

Once each fortnight, the train carried the Union payroll from the outlying towns back to Ridley station. It was a nothing job, a milk run. Despite the value of the train’s cargo, no-one was stupid enough to attack a Union train. Either they’d heard rumours about Arcanist involvement, or they’d just seen the show of force the M&SU put on at both stations with crowds of miners, steamfitters and workers accompanied by hulking constructs like the serpentine Soulstone Miners and the massive Rail Golem. Either way, nothing ever happened, but Toni was still assigned to accompany the train.

Suddenly, the train braked, the deceleration jolting people in their seats and sending the miners’ playing cards scattering across the floor. As they cursed and bent down, Toni was already out of her seat, heading towards the engine. A wall of heat hit her as she entered the cabin, the engineer turning as she approached. ‘What’s happened?’ she demanded.

The man swore. ‘We’ve got trouble up ahead. Looks like Neverborn, and explosives on the track. I can slow her down, but she won’t stop in time.’

Toni smiled, flexing her muscles at the prospect. ‘Just slow the train as much as you can. We’ll clear the line.’

Before the man could say anything else, she’d leapt from the train. Crushing a soulstone in her hand, she felt the magical energies coursing through her before she hit the ground running. Speeding up, she overtook the train and dashed towards the waiting forces up ahead.

* * *

Finally caving in to my persistent nagging and enthusiasm for this scenario, Izaak agreed to play the Train Robbery story encounter from book 4, Ripples Of Fate.

I’d already settled on Toni Ironsides to lead my crew – aside from the fact that she’s one of my favourite masters, who else would you expect to be guarding a Union payroll train? Accompanying her was a group of M&SU workers and showgirls, returning from the northern town of Huxley’s Peak to Ridley, and a lone Wind Gamin summoned from the trees.

Toni Ironsides – Arcane Reservoir, Challenge The Crowd, Iron Determination
Cassandra – Recharge Soulstone
Joss – Recharge Soulstone
Performer
Performer
Union Miner
Union Miner
Wind Gamin

Seeing the train up ahead and keen to play ‘train robbers’, the Dreamer called a motley assortment of his friends to his side.

The Dreamer – Dreams Of Pain, Otherworldly
Daydream
Daydream
Doppelganger – Mimic’s Blessing
Mr Graves – Thousand Faces
Teddy – Thousand Faces
Widow Weaver

Being a story encounter, all the schemes were available. I chose Gathering Power (revealed) and Breakthrough (unrevealed), while Izaak chose Deliver A Message (revealed) and Bodyguard on the Doppelganger (unrevealed).

deployment

Deployment

* * *

Turn 1

The Arcanists won the initative, with the Wind Gamin Leaping forward and taking a couple of walk actions. In response, one of the Daydreams used Lead Nightmare to push the nearby Widow Weaver forward, before sacrificing itself to give the Dreamer a Lucid Nightmare. Seeing the power gathering ahead, one of the Union Miners walked forward to the little station platform ahead.

The Dreamer summoned more of his nightmarish friends to join the battle, Coppelius flexing his fingers and the shadowy Bandersnatch creeping from the darkness. He healed Coppelius before lowering his Waking by one, sleeping soundly despite the monsters around him. Taking advantage of his Accomplice, the Bandersnatch crawled into Teddy’s shadow, the hulking bear grinning maliciously as its shadow extended menacingly. The second Union Miner walked forward to join his companion, while Coppelius also stalked forward. Seeing the Neverborn creatures gathering, Toni sprinted forward along the left-hand side of the tracks, ready to lead the charge and protect the train. In response, the imposing Mr Graves used Show Ya The Door to pull the Doppelganger forward before dropping a scheme marker on the railway line. Joss moved to join Toni on the left-hand side of the tracks, while the Widow Weaver scuttled closer to Toni and her miners, throwing a web marker down on the platform. Cassandra moved forward, and Coppelius was pushed even further forward by one of the Dreamer’s Daydreams.

turn1Trying to pull the creature into the open, one of Cassandra’s Performers used her Siren Call on the Widow Weaver, but the spider-like creature proved immune to even the magically-enhanced tricks of Colette’s girls and resisted the action. Seeing the girl out of position, Teddy strode forward, using Gobble You Up to push into base contact before attacking the Performer, dealing moderate damage and taking her down to one wound. Wary of the Doppelganger who was still to activate (and able to get a scheme marker in place to derail the train), I decided to gamble, activating my second Performer who dropped down off the train and used Siren Call on the first Performer. She hit the trigger to take a free attack, ruthlessly killing her companion – and giving Cassandra Reactivate via Precious in the process. With nothing else left to activate, Izaak walked his Doppelganger forward before dropping a scheme marker and having her Blend In. Attempting to move away from Teddy so she could remove the scheme marker, Cassandra tried to Nimble out of combat… only to be held in place by the nightmarish creature, ending my last chance of removing the scheme marker. She tried to attack the hulking creature, promptly failing her Terrifying test and ending her activation.

turn1-end

Disaster strikes as the Doppelganger derails the train!

The turn ended, and the train hurtled forward, colliding with the Doppelganger’s scheme marker and derailing! Crates of scrip spilled out the back, so while I now had no chance of auto-winning the game by getting the train off the board at least the loot markers were a fair distance away from the rest of the Neverborn…

With a ear-splitting screech of metal the locomotive hit the mine, the force of the blast lifting all 110 tons of the engine off the track for a moment before it crashed back down. Slewing to one side, the train ground to a halt, throwing up plumes of dirt and steam. The Dreamer whooped and capered as it lurched to a full stop, laughing at the decapitated bodies of the engineers amidst the wreckage of the cabin. ‘Wasn’t that fun? Wasn’t it?’ he asked the Neverborn around him, the Widow Weaver slowly nodding in agreement. ‘Come on you lot!’ he exclaimed, pointing to the train. ‘It’s not a proper robb’ry unless you steal the loot!’

Turn 2

Coppelius took advantage of winning the initiative, charging the nearest Union Miner and hitting his sinister I Want Them Both trigger. The Arcanists around him had clearly seen much worse, though, as everyone passed the resulting horror duel. His second attack did weak damage, leaving the Miner standing but wounded.

Seeking to neutralize the threat before it could activate, my remaining Performer walked forward before using her Siren Call on the Teddy. I threw in the Red Joker from my hand, choosing the crow trigger and Paralyzing Teddy. Meanwhile, the Widow Weaver threw down another web marker on the platform before using Exhale Fear on Toni. The first attack did severe damage despite being on a [-], though again the Arcanists around her managed to pass the horror duel. The second attack only managed weak damage, which was prevented by a soulstone. My wounded Miner took advantage of the sheer number of buffs he was receiving – Hand-Picked Men from Toni and Stand Together from the other Miner being nearby – and walked into range of Coppelius, attacking the creature but only managing weak damage despite the [+] [+] to his damage flip.

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‘Stand together!’ Coppelius survives the onslaught of the Union Miners.

Mr Graves moved the Dreamer upfield with Show Ya The Door, and then used Keeping The Peace in spectacular fashion by flipping the Red Joker! The second Union Miner did a little better than his friend despite only benefiting from Stand Together, walking in and doing moderate damage to Coppelius. The Dreamer continued to call more nightmares into reality, summoning an Insidious Madness and an Alp onto the station platform before lowering his Waking again. The Insidious Madness chain activated, healing itself from the Dreamer’s Pleasant Dreams before trying to Induce Phobia. Despite the tormenting images Toni passed the duel, though the Miner next to her wasn’t so strong-willed.

Cassandra walked twice away from the Teddy, using Understudy to copy Siren Call and pull Joss towards the Teddy. (In hindsight, I should’ve just left Cassandra to deal with him and kept Joss on the other side of the table where he could deal with the Dreamer’s summons). The remaining Daydream walked forward, while Toni joined the fray. Her first attack killed the Alp in front of her, but the Insidious Madness proved to be a tougher opponent and evaded the attack. Using Stand Up, Stand Tall to heal herself, Toni attacked Coppelius but flipped the Black Joker for the attack flip, missing the creature.

While the Teddy stood immobile, its shadow writhed around with a life of its own as the Bandersnatch struck. The clawed shadow hit the nearby Performer, catching her by surprise and dealing weak damage. Knowing what to expect, she managed to dodge the second attack just as Joss charged past her, barrelling into the Teddy. His Arc Axe cleaved through fur and stuffing, dealing moderate damage. Despite the paralysis, he still managed to miss his second attack! In response, the Teddy activated to clear Paralyze, while the Wind Gamin walked behind the Hitching Post. Finally, the Doppelganger copied Exhale Terror, though Toni burnt another soulstone to prevent damage.

More of the Neverborn creatures appeared on the station, and pandemonium errputed around the wreckage of the train. A long-limbed creature with tentacles for a mouth was grappling with Mikael, its long fingers grasping for his eyes as he tried to fight it off with his mining tools. Next to him, his companion Josef was paralyzed by fear as waves of terror emanated from the shapeless form on the platform.

Turn 3

Winning the initiative, the Neverborn unsurprisingly opted to go first, and the Insidious Madness handed over a wax-sealed envelope to Toni to score 3vp from Deliver A Message. In retaliation, the wounded Union Miner attacked Coppelius. His first attack missed, though the second attack connected and finally killed the creature.

Sulking somewhat since the Unionists weren’t playing fair by killing his creations, the Dreamer summoned a Stitched Together. As the burlap creature appeared, its rotten stuffing spilt everywhere, killing the wounded Union Miner and wounding both his companion and Ms. Ironsides. His mood brightened by the appearance of his new friend, the Dreamer lowered his Waking before re-summoning Coppelius. The Stitched Together activated by Accomplice, playing a twisted Game Of Chance with the Miner and drawing some cards.

Seeking to keep the Teddy out of the fray, Joss attacked with his Pneumatic Fist. In an impressive display of strength and wrestling ability that would put Mancha Roja to shame, he choke-slammed the Teddy into the ground, Paralyzing the creature again!

Continuing her assault, the Widow Weaver put down a third web marker before using Exhale Fear against Toni. The Arcanist leader burnt another precious soulstone to prevent the damage, and managed to pass the horror duel from the second attack. In response, Toni used Rush ‘Em to engage the Doppelganger, flipping the Red Joker for damage on her first attack! Her second punch killed the mimic, and Toni walked into the middle of engagement with the Dreamer, Widow Weaver and Daydream to set up her Adrenaline for the next turn. Seeing Toni deal with the Doppelganger and muttering something about, ‘If you want something done right…’, Mr Graves walked twice to engage her as well.

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‘Bring it!’ Toni puts down the Doppelganger and moves to engage the nearby Neverborn.

The Performer fled from the Teddy, leaving the Bandersnatch free to attack Joss, and dealing moderate damage on the first attack followed by weak on the second. The Wind Gamin interacted for a scheme marker before fluttering further into the Neverborn side of the field, while the Daydream pushed Coppelius further upfield and pushed Teddy away from Joss. Seeing the gangly figure, Cassandra attempted to finish Coppelius off with her Breath Of Fire, but fate favoured the Neverborn creature as I flipped the Black Joker for damage. Taking advantage of his luck, Coppelius walked forward to base contact with two of the treasure markers…

turn3-end

End of turn 3.

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Coppelius sneaks around to the unguarded loot markers.

With a surge of adrenaline, Toni rushed forward towards the Neverborn shapeshifter. It turned towards her, taking on the appearance of her long-dead mum – but the attempted subterfuge only served to enrage Toni. Her fist hammered into its face, sending it reeling in a spray of blood and teeth. It staggered backwards, losing control of its mimicry as a multitude of personas appeared and disappeared over its face. Before it could react further, Toni’s uppercut connected with its jaw, snapping its head back with a sickening crack as its neck broke.

Turn 4

Fate favoured the Neverborn as they won the initiative, and Coppelius took two of the treasure markers. Determined to finish the job, Joss charged the Teddy again, his Arc Axe finally cleaving through the creature and leaving it as little more than a pile of stuffing and thread. The Stitched Together continued gambling with the remaining Union Miner and, despite the Wp penalty from three web markers, the Miner won the first game! We all know you can never really win a game when playing against a Stitched Together, though, as it played a Game Of Chance again and won this time.

Seeing the Bandersnatch out in the open now that Teddy was gone, Cassandra focused her energies before letting loose a gout of flame, the sorcerous energies killing the incorporeal creature. She pushed back towards the remaining scrip in a Swirl Of Motion, before putting on her innocent-showgirl look with her Southern Charm.

Attempting to get Toni away from his boss, Mr Graves tried to Show Ya The Door. Despite the mimic’s trunk-like biceps and strength, Toni’s Bring It! ability kept her safe and she held her ground. Activating in response, Toni was in her element as she rocketed up to Adrenaline +6. She hammered her Brass Knuckles into the Widow Weaver, flipping the Red Joker (again!) for damage and hitting the Follow Through trigger. Her Uppercut sent the spider-creature flying backwards with a sickening crunch, hitting the trigger again to lower her Adrenaline. Pushing back into the fray, Toni punched the Daydream, though it seems that punching the insubstantial creations of a child’s memory aren’t necessarily the best way to kill it as she only managed weak damage. She punched it again for her second ap, killing it before walking back towards the loot markers and healing back to full health from Stand Up, Stand Tall. Stand tall indeed Toni, that was a good activation!

Inspired by his boss’s attacks, the remaining Union Miner used Companion to activate, swinging his hammer down on the Stitched Together… only to flip the Black Joker for his attack flip. His second attack managed moderate damage, but left the rotting creature standing. Nearby, the Insidious Madness used Induce Phobia twice, but both Toni and the Miner passed their horror duels now that the Widow Weaver’s web markers had been removed. Meanwhile, the Wind Gamin continued to be a nuisance, dropping a scheme marker before Leaping and dropping another one.

Walking forward to the loot, the Dreamer summoned a Daydream to his side… and reached Waking +4, disappearing from Malifaux to be replaced by the terrifying Lord Chompy Bits. The Performer continued fleeing, dropping a scheme marker in the process, and Lord Chompy Bits attacked Cassandra. His Ten-Inch Claws cut deep, dealing moderate damage and hitting the Onslaught trigger. Even a formidable duellist like Cassandra was powerless against the brutality of the tyrant, suffering weak damage before his second attack knocked her sword from her hands and sent her flying backwards where she collapsed, unmoving. Playtime over, the Dreamer unburied next to his friend as Lord Chompy Bits faded away, his myriad of malicious red eyes being the last feature to disappear.

turn4-end‘It’s not fair!’ The Dreamer’s cry echoed around the forest. ‘You’re not s’posed to do that!’ He pointed angrily at the prone figure of the Widow Weaver. Around him, reality began to distort as his anger affected the very fabric of Malifaux. ‘I’ll show you!’

With a discordant screech reality was torn asunder for a brief second, before the world snapped back into place – and, standing where the little boy had been, was a six-armed figure from nightmare. Cassandra turned towards it, instinctively raising her sabre, but a flurry of muscluar arms sent her reeling back, blood staining her dress. She parried one of the arms, before another grabbed the sword and ripped it from her grip. With a gutteral roar, Lord Chompy Bits casually backhanded the showgirl, sending her flying backwards where she hit the ground, unmoving. As the monstrous figure of Lord Chompy Bits faded away, the Dreamer stood where he had been, a smug grin crossing his face. ‘Hah! That showed you!’

Turn 5

Seizing the initiative, Toni activated and lowered her Adrenaline to Rush ‘Em, jumping into base contact with the Dreamer and blocking his line of sight to Coppelius. Having seen just what this ‘defenceless child’ was capable of, Toni didn’t hold back, hammering a punch that hit home for moderate damage and gained her another stack of Adrenaline. Her second punch hit the Follow Through trigger, and the Uppercut sent the child stumbling backwards, where his form finally faded from Malifaux as he woke up Earthside.

Seeing the Wind Gamin fluttering around in the Neverborn back field, Graves moved to engage him, his Fence Post attack dealing moderate damage to the little creature. Seeking to finish off the tenacious Stitched Together, the Miner swing his hammer… and flipped the Black Joker again for his attack. Hefting the weapon, he aimed a killing blow… and missed the second attack. In response, the Stitched Together challenged him to Gamble Your Life, winning the duel and killing the Miner before dropping a scheme marker down to try and counteract the sea of blue markers.

Joss walked back towards the loot, standing in-between the two remaining markers to discourage anyone from trying to steal them. With Joss now blocking the markers, the Insidious Madness dropped down another scheme marker, while the Wind Gamin Leapt away from Mr Graves to lay down another scheme marker, flying away from the muscled mimic. The remaining Daydream pushed both Coppelius and the Stitched Together, while the Performer walked further into the Neverborn deployment zone and interacted for another scheme marker. Coppelius attacked Joss, but the big man avoided the first attack. Reaching in again, the nightmare’s second attack hit, even managing to paralyse Joss in terror. But, with that, the game ended in an 8-6 victory for the Arcanists.

turn5-endToni didn’t hesitate as she closed in on the boy. She’d seen enough of what he could do to know that he wasn’t human, or at the very least was somehow leading the Neverborn. The boy turned to her as she approached, that smug grin still on his face – right up until her brass knuckles connected with the smile, twisting his head to one side. Turning to face her, he looked down at the blood on his white nightshirt in shock. ‘Hey, now, this is my dream! You’re not s’posed to be able to…’ He never got a chance to finish his sentence, as Toni continued her relentless assault, battering the Dreamer before landing a vicious uppercut. His body faded away before it could hit the ground with a giggle of childish laughter – not the strangest thing she’d seen in Malifaux, Toni mused, as she turned to the remaining nightmares next to her.

* * *

This was such a fun encounter, and one I’d highly recommend playing if you want a break from the usual rulebook / Gaining Grounds strats and schemes. Maybe it’s just all the old Western films and games like Red Dead Redemption, but to my mind a train heist is just so cool!

In hindsight, I’ve realised that actions like Induce Phobia were horror duels, not willpower tests, and so my models would have automatically passed the second attack (such as in turn 4). Izaak’s been playing Pandora quite a lot, so I just assume that all attacks like that are willpoewr duels nowadays, whoops!

Take care,

Ben

Scum v Scum – X-Wing battle report

Since I’ll be attending my first X-Wing tournament in just a few weeks, I thought I’d better get some practice in. Despite having been to many Malifaux tournaments before, I’ve never attended an X-Wing one, so I’m oddly nervous. Luckily, a friend who’s a bit more au fait with the tournament scene was kind enough to let me play a couple of games last week.

ig-88The first game started off with his Firespray and M3-A Interceptors deployed in one corner, with the Interceptors facing along his board edge. I opted for the simpler deployment of both my IG’s facing straight forward, with a decent bit of a gap between them. The game started with his Firespray turning towards the centre of the board, while the Interceptors raced along his deployment zone and my IG’s moved forwards. A few shots were traded, with IG-88B losing a couple of shields and taking Kath Scarlett’s shields down in response. Next turn, his Firespray moved to the middle of the board while the Interceptors swung around to face the IG2000’s. I revealed what I thought was a rather clever K-turn with IG-88B, which I thought would place him neatly on the other side of Kath Scarlett and ready to attack at range one. However, I’d misjudged the distance by a little bit and, rather than the graceful manoeuvre I had imagined, IG-88B ploughed straight into the side of the Firespray, becoming a sitting duck for the Interceptors whose heavy laser cannons promptly tore him apart. Facing three enemy ships by himself, IG-88C didn’t last long before the relentless barrage of heavy laser cannon fire took him down too. Lesson learnt – make sure to target the biggest threat in your opponent’s list first, rather than assuming you can just leave the little three-hull ships ’til last!

20161109_192022We played a rematch, and this time his Interceptors were placed on the far side of the board, with Kath facing the same way next to them. I set IG-88B up at the edge of my deployment zone, with IG-88C at a jaunty angle so he could follow in behind him this time. Both Aggressors moved forward, while the Interceptors moved forward at full speed and barrel-rolled to move away from the edge of the board. Kath, on the other hand, swung around to move diagonally towards my ships. IG-88B and C proceeded to conga line across the board, taking out an Interceptor early on. A mix of luck and the boost action kept them out of Kath’s firing arcs for three turns, giving them time to put down the other Interceptor. Two ships against one now – the odds seemed far more in my favour this time. Kath danced around, laying down some more damage and stripping the shields from IG-88B before I managed to get them both positioned behind her, revealing IG-88C’s dial first so that his fellow assassin droid bumped into the back of him rather than Kath – no action, but it meant both Aggressors could shoot the Firespray. And, in a final volley, my IG’s managed to finish off Kath and secure a victory.

20161109_201102So, I definitely need to work on my target priority. I think part of this is just that I don’t play X-Wing as frequently as Malifaux. Still, I’ll hopefully be getting a few more practice games in before the event itself!

Take care,

Ben