The Fate of Konor – Mission 1 – Invasion! Tyranids vs Deathwatch

The Imperial lines were quiet. A soft dawn mist rolled over the empty fields, shrouding the scattered trees and rocky outcrops in a swirling fog.

Along the rockrete fortifications, black-armoured marines of the Holy Inquisition’s Deathwatch stood, weapons ready. Watch-Captain Artemis stood in the centre of the lines, his superhuman eyes scanning the mist-enshrouded field for any sign of movement. His team had received a report from a Red Scorpions garrison of a Tyranid attack earlier in the week – an attack the Astartes had repulsed, but Artemis had fought the Tyranid menace before and was well aware that this would hardly be an isolated attack. Evolve, adapt, survive – that was the Tyranid way. Cradling his Boltgun in his armoured hands, the Watch-Captain continued to scour the fields.

Out in the mist, amongst the trees and the rocks, six-limbed creatures silently crept forward towards the Imperial lines.

* * *

I had a second chance to play the Invasion! scenario for the Fate of Konor campaign, hoping to do what Tyranids do best – learn from their losses, evolve, and win! This time, my swarm would be taking on Mark’s Deathwatch for our Tale of Gamers battle this month. So, could my bugs overrun the Imperial lines this time?Mark didn’t manage to seize the initiative, leaving the Tyranids to go first again. The Genestealers bounded forward, along with the Broodlord, positioning themselves for a first-turn charge against the Assault Marines, Librarian and Venerable Dreadnought. Unleashing the psychic might of the Hive Mind, the Broodlord cast Smite on the Librarian – clearly unprepared for such a psychic assault, the Librarian failed to deny the power and took three mortal wounds! I decided to go heavy on the left flank, using the Swarmlord’s Hive Commander ability on one of my Carnifexes to allow it to move even closer to the Deathwatch lines. The Carnifex charged into a Rhino, wrecking the vehicle, while the Broodlord charged into the Dreadnought and the Genestealers charged the Librarian, the Assault Marines and the Dreadnought. Fearing the retaliation of the Counter-Attack stratagem I elected to attack with the Broodlord first, her Monstrous Rending Claws dealing a total of eight damage to the Venerable Dreadnought after its armour saves! However, the veteran Space Marine inside clearly had other ideas as he passed one of his 6+ saves, leaving him with one wound left. Mark elected to use the Counter-Attack stratagem, his Assault Marines ploughing into the Genestealers and crushing some of the xenos beneath their Thunder Hammers. In retaliation, the charging Genestealers took out the Librarian, the Assault Marines and the Dreadnought in a flurry of claws! Not a promising start for the Deathwatch, with four units down and three Tyranid units already on their side of the board.

Undeterred, Watch-Captain Artemis joined the fight personally. His Stasis Grenade hit the Carnifex dead on, dealing an impressive five mortal wounds! His fellow battle-brothers were quick to capitalise, the potent Hellfire rounds in their Boltguns bringing the Carnifex down. Other squads blazed away into the Genestealers, taking down more of the four-armed creatures, while the remaining Rhino drove straight forward towards the Hormagaunts. Guns blazing, the driver ploughed the vehicle straight into the advancing Hormagaunts, crushing one of the gaunts under the tracks! The bounding creatures leapt around the vehicle to retaliate, but their Scything Talons struggled to find any weak spots and they only caused a single wound. Behind the Tyranid lines, a Drop-Pod thundered into the ground, and the Deathwatch Veterans strode forth, their heavy weapons blazing. The Zoanthropes threw up their Warp Field against the blizzard of fire, but the elite Adeptus Astartes were used to such xenos trickery, their accurate fire killing one of the psychic creatures. Seeking to hold up parts of the Tyranid advance, the Razorback charged into the Genestealers while the remaining Rhino continued to hold the Hormagaunts in place, doing a stellar job as it crushed another one and only took one wound in return! The Tyranids ignored the Deathwatch Veterans behind them, the driving will of the Hive Mind pressing them forward into the Imperial lines. The Termagants scuttled forward into a ruined bunker, now able to bring both their Devourers and some of the Fleshborers into range. A hail of living ammunition rained upon the Deathwatch and, while their 2+ save from being in cover held firm, one Marine was still killed by the volley of fire. Hissing a challenge against the valiant Watch-Captain Artemis, the Swarmlord prepared herself to charge him… only for me to roll one inch less than I needed to engage him. Not to worry, I only need a seven on two dice and I want this epic commander showdown to happen, I’ll just spend a command point to re-roll that two… and roll a one. As fate had decreed that this epic warlord duel was not to be, I charged Artemis with the Broodlord, while the Genestealers piled in to the Razorback. Their Rending Claws tore through the armour, but the tank held firm with two wounds left. Meanwhile, the Broodlord’s Rending Claws flickered out, met by Artemis’s glowing Power Sword. Blade met claw as the two duelled, but the inhuman speed of the Broodlord won out as she cut Artemis down.

The Imperial lines were starting to crumble, but these Astartes were the inscrutable members of the Ordo Xenos Deathwatch – the best of the best, long used to the horrors of the xenos. Mark’s Veterans in my back field continued to punish the Zoanthropes, their heavy weapons firepower taking down another of the psychic Tyranids. The surviving Deathwatch Marines manning the barricades focused their fire on the remaining Carnifex, their Hellfire rounds punching through its carapace and taking some wounds. The Razorback was finally destroyed by the Genestealers, though the Rhino continued to hold the Hormagaunt brood in place as it lost a single wound yet again!

The Termagants scuttled into the Imperial deployment zone, their weight of fire killing most of a Deathwatch squad and leaving one Plasma Gunner alive. Determined to engage the enemy this time, my Swarmlord moved up close to a Deathwatch combat squad before charging into them. The xenos-hunters Boltguns dealt a wound, but one of the nearby Tyrant Guard leapt in the path of the shot. Bone Sabres flickered out, and the Swarmlord stood victorious over the corpses of the squad. Enraged by the wounds it had taken, the surviving Carnifex charged into the last Deathwatch squad, killing a Marine but taking more wounds in return from their Power Sword and Xenophase Blade. Faced with the horde of Termagants and having just seen the nearby Swarmlord butcher his battle-brothers, the lone Plasma Gunner failed his morale check and fled.

With precious few models left, the Deathwatch bravely resolved to take as many bugs as they could with them. The Veterans fired their weapons at the lone surviving Zoanthrope, but it had floated out of the range of some of their weapons and those that could reach it weren’t able to penetrate the psychic barrier around it. The Astartes in combat with the Carnifex fared better, dealing more wounds to the creature but sadly unable to finish it off.

And with that, we had run out of time for the evening and the game came to a close in an 11-1 victory for the Tyranids. The Deathwatch had fought bravely, but the sheer number of Tyranid units who had managed to cross the centreline tipped the vp rather alarmingly.

From my side of the table, I think it went wrong for the Deathwatch when the Genestealers were able to charge three units at once due to their close proximity to one another. I usually try to deploy my Genestealers last so I can place them opposite whatever I want them to kill, and they’re just so darn fast that they can be on an opponent before you know what’s happened. Having three units next to one another like that made for a very disruptive charge as opposed to, say, if the Genestealers had only been able to charge the Assault Marines and not the Dreadnought. We’re still in the early days of 8th edition, too, so it’s always a bit confusing facing a new army for the first time – and I don’t think most people expect Tyranids to be quite as fast as they are! I still get surprised by armies in 8th – I didn’t expect T’au to be as mobile as they are with all those battlesuits!

* * *

My Tale of Gamers force, as of the end of July, stands at:

Swarmlord
Broodlord
3 Tyrant Guard with Scything Talons & Rending Claws
3 Zoanthropes
3 Venomthropes
30 Hormagaunts
30 Termagants including 10 Devourers
17 Genestealers
2 Carnifexes with Devourers, Scything Talons and Thresher Scythes.

I’ll try and do some group shots sometime soon! In the meantime, my Hive Fleet has managed to acquire enough bio-mass to keep growing, and is now headed towards Konor itself

Take care,

Ben

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The Fate of Konor – Mission 1 – Invasion! Tyranids vs Red Scorpions

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…

* * *

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!

* * *

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,

Ben

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