Battle Report: Ultramarines vs. Tyranids (1443pts)

This week I threw down against Kevin and his bugs again at a random-ish points cost.  He tried to get me to play at 1500 points, but I just wasn’t in the mood… so we finally agreed on 1443.  My focus when building my list was to take units that I don’t use very often.  In fact, my list originally included Cassius (since I’ve never played him before), but I took him out when I realized I didn’t bring the model. 

Instead, I just went through the HQ section until I found one that I had the model for, and that I don’t use.  And with that, I give you:

Ultramarines Forces:

  • HQ:
    • Vulkan He’stan
  • Elites:
    • Assault Terminators x5 w/ Thunderhammers
  • Troops:
    • 5x Scouts w/ Sniper Rifles & Missile Launcher
    • 5x Scouts w/ Sniper Rifles, Telion, & Missile Launcher
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Multi-Melta, Flamer in Rhino w/ HK Missile
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Multi-Melta, Flamer in Rhino w/ HK Missile
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Multi-Melta, Flamer in Rhino w/ HK Missile
  • Fast Attack:
    • 1x Land Speeder w/ Multi-Melta & H. Flamer
    • 2x Land Speeders w/ Multi-Melta & H. Flamer
    • 2x Attack Bikes w/ Multi-Melta
  • Heavy Spport:
    • Vindicator w/ HK Missile & Pintle-mounted Storm Bolter

I don’t study net-lists much, but I gotta figure this is fairly common.  Take Vulkan and add as many flamers and meltas as you can… Granted, most Vulkan lists probably don’t include Vindy’s or Scouts…

As stated above, I focused on units/models I don’t use very often.  In this list, that includes:

  • Vulkan
  • Tactical Squads with Multi-meltas
  • Rhinos
  • Vindicator

By the timeI’d finished building the list, I noticed I’d purchased too many rhinos, so I stole a nearby trukk to use instead.  For some reason, I also forgot to add the attack bikes to the army pic, but trust me, they’re there in spirit!

Tyranid Forces

  • HQ:
    • Hive Tyrant w/ Bonesword, Lashwhip, Venom Cannon, &  complete uprades
    • Alpha Warrior w/ Deathspitter and assorted upgrades
  • Troops:
    • 30x Termagants w/ complete uprades
    • 20x Hormagaunts w/ complete uprades
    • 3x Warriors w/ Deathspitters & Scything Talons + Venom Cannon
  • Heavy Support:
    • Trygon Prime w/ complete uprades

Everything in his force was ugpraded to the max.  Every unit that could have regeneration had it (and subsequently failed it for the entire game).  Every unit had toxin sacs and adrenal glands.  The Tyrant even took extra armor!

The upgrades seemed a bit-over-the-top, but it also meant that anything that got across the board and into combat would be all the nastier…

Mission & Deployment:

My first real foray back into the gaming club after the summer break, I paired up against a Tyranid force.  In the interest of mixing things up, we opted to pick a mission out of the Battle Missions book, and started to roll one up randomly.  While we were fumbling through the book, someone suggested that we play the Ambush mission from the Necron section, as it would be a great representation of the Battle for Ultramar, with the bugs ambushing my BLOO forces.

And I figure, why not?  Surely the missions are balanced, right?

Once we started reading through the mission, it seemed normal enough.  I was forced to line up in a column, within 6″ from the center of the board, and try to get off the short edges of the board.  I’m thinking to myself: “No biggie, there have been missions like this in the past.”  Luckily, there was almost no terrain in the immediate center of the board, so it made my deployment easy.

The Ambush is Set...

My opponent gets to set up anywhere 12″ from the center of the board (which, if you’re taking notes, means he gets to set up only 6″ away from me: not exactly something you want to see when you’re facing ‘Nidz…)  So, I start the game immediately thinking that it doesn’t look good for our hero.  I’m immediately thinking that my best strategy is going to be to scatter off the edge of the board as quickly as possible, and take enough pot shots to score a couple of quick points.

The problem is, that’s also the cowardly approach. 

I deploy, as required, with units in each rhino, scouts in cover on either end of the board (joined by Vulkan, who just won’t fit into a tank).  My terminators protected the flank of my speeders as best as possible, as they had some great weaponry, and low chances of living should they have been charged–plus they’re the only vehicle squadron I have.

Kevin’s strategy was basically to deploy right up on the line, 6″ away from me and charge me first turn (big surprise).  But who could blame ’em…?  Considering the fact that the mission objective is kill points, and he only has 6 total KP’s in his entire army (compared to my 13), I’m not too optimistic to start with.

We dice off for first turn, and I lose.  Even before the game has begun, I know this is going to be ugly…

Turn 1: Tyranids

There was minimal shooting, as most of my stuff was inside vehicles.  The Trygon Prime scored some hits on a nearby rhino, but failed to even glance the side armor.  The warriors and their prime managed to score a single unsaved wound on the attack bikes, and the Hive Tyrant leeched the essence out of one of my Stormshield termies (have I mentioned before that my Terminator squads are worthless?)

The mass of termagants opened up with their overpriced 18″ guns into the scout squad with both Telion and Vulkan.  Despite going to ground, they lost all of the normal scouts in the unit, leaving only the characters to absord the brunt of the charge. 

Ok, at this point–things don’t look so bad.  But then again, Tyranids aren’t exactly known for their shooting…

Predictably, I get assaulted by everything in his force on the first turn (except the Tyrant, who deployed behind the hormagaunts for some reason–perhaps in anticipation of me winning the first turn?).

The hormagaunts decimate the Thunderhammer Terminators to a man before I get a chance to strike back.  So, they only scored 8 wounds on a unit of 4 guys… statistically that means I fail 5 saves, right?  Oh my… 

Elsewhere on the board, the Trygon ate a rhino, and both attack bikes fall to unsaved wounds against the warriors (who didn’t have bone swords).  Meanwhile, the termagants took Vulkan down to a single wound–at which point I chose to fail my break test to get out of combat.  My opponent figured I was running off the table, but that’s so uncouth.  Instead, I was just hoping to regroup so that I could fire his twin-linked heavy flamer into the unit.  That’d show ’em who’s boss!

KP TOTAL:
Tyranids: 3 – Ultramarines: 0

Turn 1: Ultramarines

The problem with that theory is that he didn’t run far enough, and the gaunts consolidated into range to keep him running.  He didn’t run off the table though, but he was completely out of flamer range by the time he was finished routing.

My front rhino tank-shocked the gaunts to pay them back for what they did to my scouts (and to line them up for flaming), then disembarked and let them have it.  Between the bolters and flamers, I did enough to take down to about 7 models.  It was just too bad I couldn’t assault at that point… 

My Rhinos (that could), all directed their pintle-mounted Hunter-Killer missiles at the Trygon, doing a measly one wound.  The other nearby tactical squad disembarked and whiffed nicely on the Trygon as well.  On the Western flank, the Vindicator and three landspeeders made short work of the termagant squad (thanks Vulkan!), and the scouts, knowing the Tyrant was close, backed up as far as possible.

Nothing of mine was foolish enough to charge into combat…

KP TOTAL:
Tyranids: 3 – Ultramarines: 1

Turn 2: Tyranids

Shooting was even less effective than it was the first turn.  The surviving termagants killed none of their attackers before charging into the fray. 

The warriors shot into a newly appearing tactical squad and killed a couple before charging in, and the Trygon, consumed an entire squad by himself.  My marines faired better against the gaunts (wiping them all and losing a single marine in the process), as well as with the warriors–wounding two of them and suffering minimal losses themselves.

I don’t recall what it was that the Tyrant did, but it didn’t have much bearing in the game.  Actually, I think he took out the single land-speeder… yeah, we’ll say that’s what he did.

KP TOTAL:
Tyranids: 5 – Ultramarines: 2

Turn 2: Ultramarines

So it doesn’t look good, and it isn’t likely to look any better–but I haven’t completely lost the game at this point, right?  For me to even pull out a tie, I need to get my units out of harms way, and to mow down the rest of his forces; as I scanned over my list, that almost seemed doable…

The Trygon Stands Alone

On the Western flank, I only had to worry about a Hive Tyrant.  Fair enough, a squad of scout snipers, two twin-linked multi-meltas and a vindicator cannon later, all drew a bead on the beast.   Granted, the odds of that actually working are fairly abyssmal, so luck would have to be on my side. 

I’m not a statistician, but it that’s a 74% chance for the multi-meltas to work, 55% chance for the Vindicator, and a measly 4% chance for a sniper to wound him (but I had 4 snipers and a missile launcher to work with!  Those combined with my ML, had about a 24% chance to cause a single wound).  Since the Tyrant had four wounds, I had to count on the scouts to cause a single wound, and everything else to work perfectly.  The odds of that?  Well, if my math is at all correct, about 7%.

And one smoking crater later, the Hive Tyrant was no more.  Could it be?  Were the dice gods repaying my sacrifice of Terminators from turn 1?

On the Eastern front, My tanks backed away to regroup–out of charge range of his beasties, leaving only the wounded unit in combat.  As for what happened here… I don’t recall.  I want to say that this is the point where my unit fell (except the sarge) and subsequently broke and ran, but that can’t be right. 

Needless to say, my memory is a little sketchy here, so I guess this is where the formal part of the battle report ends…

KP TOTAL:
Tyranids: 5 – Ultramarines: 3

Turn 3 (both)

In here somehow, my tactical squad did break and run for the hills, but this couldn’t have happened on his turn, or he’d have surely been cut down by his remaining warrior & prime, or the Trygon.  But just what did the Trygon do that turn?  Why wouldn’t he have charged into the squad to help out?

Whatever the case, his turn ended with his remaining three models bunched up (presumably because they’d charged something), and they all fit nicely under a vindicator template.  Between that, some stray bolter shots, and the multi-melta speeders, it was enough to clear the board for me. 

Somehow I’d pulled out a victory…

KP TOTAL:
Tyranids: 5 – Ultramarines: 6

What I learned:

  1. I really should take better notes during my games.  Most of the time, I take a handfull of pictures, and that’s enough to do these write-ups with.  I guess it helps if I do it while the game is still fresh in my mind, eh?  This particular game happened almost three weeks ago!  Which brings me to point #2:
  2. I should do my write-ups sooner after the game ends.
  3. Tyranid upgrades can be fun–but they’re useless in excess.  I practically outnumbered him in models, despite the fact that I was MEQ and he was almost a horde army, because he put every possible upgrade into his units.  Each 5 point Termagant was suddenly 12 points! Really, when upgrading your units, you have to pick and choose–you can’t have it all…
  4. Terminators are bad.  Ok, I know the world loves these guys, but they consistantly perform poorly for me.  It’s not that they dont’ get where I want them to, it’s just that a 2+ save is roughly equivalent to a 6+ save when the dice are in my hands… it’s nothing universal, but Terminators & me just don’t mix.
  5. Vulkan + Tons of flamers and melta = quite effective.  Multi-meltas that re-roll to hit are incredibly deadly, as are flamers with twice the wounds.
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One comment on “Battle Report: Ultramarines vs. Tyranids (1443pts)

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

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