After five months of gaming with this new group, there are still a few stragglers which I’ve yet to play against. One such player, Kevin, has managed to elude me based upon the fact that he doesn’t come very often, and when he does, he’s often a little late. Because I’m a slow player, I like to get my games underway as soon as possible, so when he arrived early, we threw down.
At first I was a little leery because we both brought Tyranids, but then he explained that he’s relatively new to the codex and has also never played a bug on bug battle. Sadly, I had tooled up a pretty competitive list though. I wish I’d have brought different models so I could vary my unit selection to make a more friendly force…
Despite having a very competitive list, I accepted his challenge, and dedicated much of the game to working myself through the new rules, and helping Kevin along for the ride. We rolled up table-halves and dawn of war for our mission. Kevin won the roll and opted to go first.
- Alpha Warrior
- Tyranid Warriors x 5 w/ VC, devourers & talons)
- Ymgarls x6
- Ymgarls x6
- Termagants x14
- Termagants x14
- Hormagaunts x10
- Genestealers x8 w/ Scything Talons, Broodlord, & Mycetic Spore
- Carnifex (Scything Talons & Crushing Claws)
Hive Fleet Proteus:
- Hive Tyrant (Bonesword, Lashwhip, HVC, Paroxysm, Leech Essence, Hive Commander) x1
- Tyrant Guard x1
- Doom of Malan’tai (in Spore w/ clusterspines)
- Zoanthrope x2 (in Spore w/ clusterspines)
- Tervigon (Catalyst)
- Tervigon (Catalyst)
- Termagants x10
- Termagants x10
- Spore Mines x3
- Spore Mines x3
Kev had remarked about the lack of cover, but decided it didn’t matter for this game, as it was sure to be a fist-fight (or in this case, claw-fight) to the death. My spore mines struck into two of the three pieces of cover on his side of the board, leaving him with only one section to deploy in unmolested. He limited himself to a termagant squad, a tyranid warrior squad, and his alpha warrior (joined to the warriors).
I opted to deploy my Hive Tyrant (my only HQ) along with a Tervigon, and a unit of ‘gants to use as a screen. Since I knew he had ymgarls, I didn’t want to leave the Tervigon out there unprotected–which is why they encircled the MC for protection.
Turn 1: Generic Bugs
While not the most boring turn I’ve ever seen, this was definitely far from being action-packed. Kevin moved his units out of cover (which lead to a reminder for him to move every model out of cover rather than to risk one model holding up the rest of the squad with a difficult terrain test). In te end, a single shot was found to be in range, but missed the Tervigon, instead killing of his bodyguard.
Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus
My turn was about as uneventful as the last. My spore mines accomplished nothing more for the entire game (other than to thud harmlessly into a Carnifex on turn 4), so I removed them from the battle report altogether. I wouldn’t say they were worthless though, as they basically dictacted my opponent’s setup. Granted, it didn’t make much difference on this map, but I can certainly see value in them for future games.
Elsewhere, my Tervigon experienced girl problems, ensuring that the first nine babies she laid would be her last for this game. And a stray shot from a venom cannon, pierced the night fight rules and killed a single termagant in retaliation. WOOT!… er… ok, boring, I get it.
Turn 2: Generic Bugs
Luckily, the game kicked into action here. Kev got a squad of Ymgarls and hormagaunts from reserve and pushed them on the eastern flank. Considering the rules for instinctive behavoir, and charging from deployment (ymgarls), I think these were the best choices he had available. His Ymgarls killed nearly every gant in my squad, but a single bugger valiantly fended off the incoming hord for his mom.
Prior to combat we’d discussed the different options for Ymgarls and their variable upgrades: Strength, Toughness, & Attacks. As stated in my unit review, I believe the best option for charging in general is to use Toughnes, though in this instance, there wasn’t a huge advantage to being locked in combat for my shooting phase. Kevin wisely prefers attacks over the strength, but I’d convinced him to go with strength in the opening round for basically one reason: the logic behind the Toughness argument is sound, and he might want to use that again in a later turn. As a result, he didn’t decimate my units, and managed to stay locked in combat–despite chosing an offensive ability.
The rest of the bugs advanced and fired of bursts of their living ammo into my ranks, but did only minor damage.
Turn 2: Hive Fleet Proteus
Finally, a chance to see the Doom of Malan’tai in combat. Realistically, I rolled perfectly in reserves. Of my units, only my two Trygons and my Doom came on the board (allowing further units to arrive through the tunnels). Of those, the doom in pod and his nearby Trygon friend hit where they wanted. This allowed me to pull of a nasty trick I’d brought up in my Doom of Malan’tai review.
Since my drop pod (er.. mycetic spore) is less than 5″ across, the doom can stand behind it and still be in range of units on the other side. From where he initially stood, he was within range of both the warriors and the ‘gants. He immediately blasted up to 9wounds that turn, but sadly I had blocked off any reliable lines of sight to enemy units for his shooting phase, so his big badda-boom would have to wait.
As luck would have it, his nearby Trygon provided the perfect sidekick to the doom. The only real danger he faced at this point was being assaulted, and since the Trygon landed, he succesffully blocked off any chance the nearby warriors had to assault my little elite zoanthrope. Surprisingly, the Trygons themselves opened fire and did a respectable amount of damage–but not enough to destroy anything outright.
To give me another scoring unit, my Tervigon grantd Feel no Pain to the lone nearby gant and charged into battle, along with the Hive Tyrant and his bodyguard. Despite having a fair number of armor-ignoring attacks, I couldn’t clear out the pile before more came…
Turn 3: Generic Bugs
For reserves, the generic bugs were assisted by some Shrikes, Ymgarls, and hormagaunts. Now, in hindsight, letting him deploy his shrikes there was a mistake–with their relatively high leadership, they would’ve been better served on the other side of the table, but I was still in shock at the carnage caused by the doom…
And it didn’t stop there. During his shooting phase, the gaunts managed to escape beyond 6″ of him, but the warriors were not so lucky. They fired in retaliation, but only managed to do a single wound to him (God bless invulnerable saves).
In combat, a second squad of ymgarls charged headlong in such a manner as to completely negate the mounstrous creatures. Taking advantage of this momentary upper-hand, they downed his bodyguard and the termagant while the Tervigon & Tyrant looked upon them, confused.
On the Northern edge, a squad of six hormagaunts slammed into the Trygon, doing a wound. In rebuttal, I killed four of his gaunts, and was sure they’d die in the ensuing wounds caused by a failed break-test since he was making the test against a leadership of 2. Amazingly though, he only rolled a 3 for his test, and rolled a successful save against the sole wound caused. These were indeed the bravest, and toughest gaunts I’d ever seen.
Turn 3: Hive Fleet Proteus
My turn for reserves gifted me with a squad of termies (who came in on the Southern edge, to start cleaning up objectives), and a Tervigon–coming in to the north to give me some needed synapse.
And the Doom stood up for his next cheesy move. Despite the miracle of the hormgaunts last stand–and their ability to lock my Trygon in combat for a turn, the Doom had a different plan in mind. I shifted him slightly so that he was in range of the Shrikes, the Warriors, & the hormies. Those models with high leaderships (9-10) passed with little to no damage (a common theme for the game), but those with low leadership died instantly. Alas, the brave hormagaunts were slaughtered in the shooting phase–which allowed my Trygon to run forward, and charge the nearby shrikes. Sheeze, is there anything the Doom can’t do?! (besides kill models in vehicles…. sorta…)
The rest of the combats faired very well for me, considering I had so many MC’s and he had none that had arrived…
Turn 4: Generic Bugs
Of course, the moment I say that, his MC shows up. His Carnifex made a b-line for my Tervigon, and showed me who was boss. Though in my review of Tervigons I compared them to carnies and said they were relatively similar, a single round of combat showed me just how wrong I was. Seven strength 9 attacks vs. 3 strength 6 attacks is the difference between night and day. Luckly, my Terv escaped with only a single wound on her, but she was going to need some help quickly, and the Trygons were busy with their own problems.
Turn 4: Hive Fleet Proteus
Queue the Doom. A subtle shift in my lines, and voila! The doom is now in range of the Carnifex and his gaunts. One leadership later, and an previously unwounded Carnifex is vaporized by my favorite model in the codex. Man, this thing is unstoppable!
Predicatably, the Trygons mopped up their respective opponents, and my squad of Zoanthropes dropped down to contest the distant objective. With one more turn left, and almost no generic bugs alive, we called the game. Well, at least the bugs won, right?
What I Learned:
- Doom is crazy! I never even fired off his demolisher cannon, but I didn’t have to. With his ability to just kill everything around him (that isn’t in a tank), he’s a monster. The added fact that he can free up units that were previously locked in combat only adds insult to injury. Granted, he couldnt have had a better opponent, since Kev had very few monstrous creatures, so there were very few options he had against it. That, coupled with the fact that Tyranids have no vehicles to hide in, and relatively low leadership (who needs it when they have synpase? Right? errr.. wrong)…. made him just unbelievably nasty.
- Carnifices aren’t as bad as I thought they were–or maybe I over-estimated the value of a Tervigon in h2h. Either way, they deserve more credit than I’d given them. Does that mean I’ll play them? Oh, heck no. But they’re not as bad I let on. 🙂
- Competitive lists against friendly players are sad. Sure, I trounced him, but that wasn’t the goal of this game. I just hate dragging all of my models around every time I go someplace to game, so I take only one list. I definitely want to play Kev with a more friendly list in the future.