Battle Report: Ultramarines vs. Tyranids (1500pts)

We haven’t gotten many games of 40k in this summer, so when Blaine asked if I was game, I jumped at the chance to exterminate some bugs.  Though I had really wanted to bust out my Doom of Malan’tai against low-leadership bugs, I opted to go with the power of the BLOO, since I know Blaine isn’t overly fond of bug on bug battles, so I drove over to his house and threw down with 1500 points of the Emporer’s finest.

Ok, I’m not 100% sure of the points value of this particular game, but it was in the 1500 range.  Knowing Blaine, it was far more likely to be a 1496, 1503, or some other suitably non-standard point game.  Whatever the actual amount was, it was roughly akin to a 1500 point game.

Ultramarines Forces

  • HQ:
    • Lysander (model proxied for this game)
  • Elites:
    • Ironclad with 2x H. Flamers in Pod w/ Deathwind
    • 5x Assault Termies w/ Thunderhammer/S.Shields
  • Troops:
    • 10x Tactical w/ Powerfist, Missile, Melta, in Razorback w/ H. Bolters
    • 10x Tactical w/ Missile & Melta in Razorback w/ H. Bolters
  • Heavy:
    • 10x Devastators w/ 4x Missile Launchers

Tyranid Forces

  • HQ:
    • Alpha Warrior w/ ??
    • Parasite of Mortrex
  • Elites:
    • Doom of Malan’Tai in Spore w/ big blast
    • 1x Zoanthrope? (he used a proxy of something and it died quickly)
    • 1x Hive Guard
  • Troops:
    • 20 Hormagaunts in Spore w/ big blast
    • 12 Stealers w/ Broodlord in Spore w/ big blast
    • 12 Stealers w/ Broodlord in Spore w/ big blast
    • 20 Termagants w/ spike rifles? in Spore w/ big blast
  • Heavy:
    • Tyrannofex w/ Rupture Cannon

Mission / Deployment:

Since neither of us has much experience with the Battle Missions book, I just handed it to him and asked him to pick one with a cool sounding name.  I don’t remember what it was called, but it was a Dark Eldar mission which had several units setup in the center.

There was some discussion as to whose army made a more appropriate Dark Eldar stand-in: there’s no doubt that Tyranids are suitably evil enough to replicate any horrors that the Eldar can muster, but this particular mission does evoke images of Space Marines baiting the swarm with a contingent of troops into some sort of ambush.  With that in mind, we diced off for who played the Dark Eldar (he did), and who got sides (his pick), and who got first turn (I did). 

Given the open terrain setup, and my long ranged guns, I was fairly confident that I could setup just about anywhere and be effective.  The only real flaw in that plan is almost all of his army was to deploy in pods, so I could plan on having no more than a turn of shooting at things before they engaged me. 

With that in mind, my thought was to spread out my forces so that any units that managed to get to hand to hand, would have to trudge across the field to get to the rest of my forces–at which time I could make good use of all of those missile launchers.  Of course, I could rely on my Dread and Stenguard (along with Lysander) to react to whatever the swarm did.

The mission required him to deploy a limited number of units in the center, so the Alpha Warrior, Hive Guard, Tyrannofex, and the mysterious proxy hid behind a hill in the neutral zone…

Turn 1: Ultramarines

He failed to seize initiative and I took first turn, happily throwing a missile into his Tyrannofex: well, that’s one wound!  I thought… Silly me, I’d forgotten that he’s the one model in the book with a 2+ armor save.  Luckily, he failed it, but would regenerate it the very next turn.  No bother though, I simply reverted back to my typical strategy wherein I completely ignore it in favor of softer targets. 

My dread dropped down into a position where he could hit all of the insects with his flamers.  Between his damage, and the ensuing volley of missiles, we managed to kill half of the deployed bugs and wounded.

Turn 1: Tyranids

In reply, there wasn’t much he could do.  He had nothing that could really cope with the AV13 of the Ironclad, aside from the Tyrannofex in hand-to-hand, so he charged headlong into combat to what would only be his own slow and painful death.  The assault lasted a couple of turns, and he did manage to rip an arm off the dread, but died in the process.

Turn 2: Ultramarines

Still not much on the board, and the only thing there was locked in combat.  Well, technically this wasn’t true, as I had completely forgotten about his wounded Alpha warrior hiding behind the hill.  A quick turn having left me with nothing to do.

Turn 2: Tyranids

Of all of his units, he managed to get both squads of ‘stealers, the doom, and the parasite in.    It started to look like he was going to get none of his reserves at first–which was troubling, as I’d much rather fight his army in pieces than to have to deal with it all at once, but luck was on my side, and he did get a few units.  He had a fairly sound strategy in that he dropped everything in towards half of my force, trying to cut them off from the rest of my units, while using his mycetic spores (eg. the glass jars in the pictures) as shields for the rest of his units.

Sadly, they deviated in such a way that every unit nearby had clear shots at them.  The Doom proved to be lackluster (though, it’s important to note, he killed his points worth of marines in a single turn, and I consider that to be lackluster), and everyone else waited to charge next turn.

Turn 3: Ultramarines

The vacuous hole where Tyranids once stood

Except there just wasn’t a next turn.  Lysander in a Sternguard squad is devastating.  Using his “bolter drill” ability along with their specialized ammunition makes short work of genestealers.  3+ to hit (with a re-roll), 2+ to wound, and no armor saves.  Considering they drop in to short range to double-tap, and goodbye genestealer squad.  Of course, they have a few combi-flamers in the squad to help thin the herd as well. 

A lucky melta shot was enough to do away with the Doom, and the rest of the nearby squads plastered everything that moved in the area.  Another shooting phase where the only things left alive were the Tyrannofex (still locked in combat), and the Alpha Warrior that I kept forgetting about…

Turn 3: Tyranids

The last of his units showed up, but after watching what happened to the rest of his forces, he opted to keep them back near his Tyrannofex.  A squad of hormies and a squad of termies just isn’t enough punch to take out the remainder of my forces–especially considering I’d lost only a handfull of marines to that point.  By the end of the assault phase (where the Ironclad finally put down the Tyrannofex), we called it a game. 

This is what should’ve happened on McCragge.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Missile Launchers aren’t half bad.  Strength 8 aut0-kills anything and I’m sure does a number to light tanks.  By and large, I still prefer the lascannon in my tactical squads (where they’re still cheap)–not only for the additional strength against vehicles, but the ability to ignore all armor is really handy.  Definitely worth 15 points.
  2. Synapse is necesary in a ‘nid army.  I know this already, and so does Blaine, but he was just mixing it up.  Unfortunately, an Alpha Warrior, Parasite, and Doom just aren’t enough to build an army around.  I really can’t play an army that doesn’t have at least two squads of Zoanthropes, personally…
  3. Lysander + Sternguard = pretty darn impressive.
  4. Drop pods & firing weapons.  This isn’t really a lesson learned, but more of a question.  When  drop pod lands, can it fire it’s deathwind launcher?  For some reason I have it in my head that they can’t–but I don’t know why that is.  Is it because it counts as moving at “cruising speed” which preempts it from firing that turn?

8 comments on “Battle Report: Ultramarines vs. Tyranids (1500pts)

  1. poor Blaine, oddly enough i haven’t had a lot of good experiences with the battle missions book. Sure it provides some different missions but they are often very imbalanced.

    I think they really go the way of Apoc, they should be played with both a force designed to have fun in that mission and a player mind set of fun over win.

  2. Random unit was a venomthrope for the 5+ cover save. I got spanked, but it was still fun. This is another example of my dice hating on me. 🙂

  3. True… last game we played we had to reroll the mission right after deployment cause we both knew I had no chance… missions that make tau deplot in center=bad missions that let them be assaulted turn one no matter where they deploty in the center?=even worse…

  4. I think the idea behind the missions is that you may have to do anything
    with your force, so if you’re playing with a battle mission, you’re really
    forced to build a balanced army that can do a little of everything.
    Granted, some armies (like Tau) have a hard time balancing out every aspect
    (such as h2h), but it’s posisble to build a Tau force that is either decent
    in that aspect (ie. Kroot), or somewhat resilient to it (ie. Mech).

    Of course, the fact that your codex is years out of date doesn’t help at
    all… As a whole, I support the seemingly random missions in the battle
    missions book.

  5. Pingback: Battle Reports for 5th Edition: A Summary | Warhammer 39,9999

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