It seems that I don’t play normal games anymore, instead just playing a few Apoc games per year. This past weekend was no exception. Our local gaming club had one of it’s three annual Apoc games, and I managed to attend. The rules were pretty typical, except for the usual limitation of superheavies/titans was lifted, and replaced with “no more than 1 D weapon per model.” Complete rules can be found in this thread.
Many of the standard players were in attendance, with a couple of relatively new faces. Attendees and army choices can be found below in the recaps of the forces.
- Zion – Imperial Guard w/ some Marines
- Andy – Titan formation (Warlord & 2x Warhounds)
- Brett – 3x Shadowswords & 15+ Dreadnoughts
- Dan – Imperial Guard & Grey Knights
- Kurt – Space Puppies w/ Thunderhawk
- Tyson – Space Marine 1st Company Formation
The more interesting choices here (which means choices that I found to be interesting) included Tyson’s first company. I know he’s played with them before, but how many people own 100+ painted terminators and actually field them in a game? That’s just cool. Brett fielded an insane amount of outflanking dreadnoughts, and Andy brought a formation to include a scratch built (and painted) Warlord Titan. I also found Kurt’s list interesting because he brought flyers that I didn’t even know he’d had: a Thunderhawk (which was technically part of Dan’s force) and two Caestus Assault Rams. Pictures of these units can be found throughout this batrep.
Team with Less than Wholesome Intentions
(originally referred to as Team Chaos, until I took offense to it–Nids are pure of heart…)
- Ben – Chaos Titans & Brass Scorpions
- Alex – Dark Eldar
- Chris – Tyranids
- Me – Tyranids (2x Hierophants, Doom, & Ymgarls)
- Andrew – Chaos (Khorne & Nightlords)
- Mike “Q” – Imperial Marines (TRAITOR!)
- Mangles – Necrons
Standout units/options here include Ben’s Chaos Titan (which really isn’t anything that hasn’t been seen on the internet before, but the forgeworld Chaos Titan is just so pretty…). Chris, a relatively new player to our area, also brought a fully painted Tyranid army which included a Barbed Hierodule, though Mangles titan kind of stole the show for me as far as cool new units goes.
If you’ll excuse the segway, he purchased a Mortis Pattern Leviathan from Dreamforge Games. I’d seen the model online before and thought it was super cool, but I’d originally thought it would make a nice Chaos Titan (or perhaps some weird Chaplain Titan conversion). I honestly hadn’t considered using it as a Necron Titan, but that’s the first thing Mangles thought of when he’d picked it up, and it turned out great. He replaced the rod inside the gun with some clear plastic tubing that he’d dyed green, and it made for a pretty convincing solution.
But I digress… as a brief recap, each side had some pretty cool additions, and there were definitely a plethora of superheavies to go around. If memory serves, the Imperials had 7 (Andy had 3, Brett with 3, and Kurt with the Thunderhawk), while the Anti-Imperials had a whopping 11 (5 for Ben, 1 for Alex, 2 for me, 3 for Mangles).
In bidding for first turn, the “evil” team was divided as to whether to go first or second. With so many super heavies on both sides, several people wanted to go first to ensure they at least got a shot or two off. Others wanted to go second for that last minute objective grab. After discussing the matter, it was decided that we’d want to go first, and that we should bid 6 minutes for deployment. I eventually talked them into bumping that up a bit, since we had a Tyranid player who had to deploy an “endless swarm,” and you just can’t throw down a few hundred models in six minutes. We eventually settled on 10 minutes–which was coincidentally exactly the same number as our opponents chose. When we diced off, we lost and the Imperials took the first turn.
In the meantime, we announced assets. I’d taken “hold at all costs,” to make my models all scoring (important because I hadn’t picked a single unit of troops in my entire force), our TRAITOR marine player chose ambush (which didn’t do much damage and seemed to slow the game down a bit), while our Dark Eldar player chose the one that forces our opponents to play with night-fighting rules the first turn, and we also had a blind barrage (which sadly, never saw play). Our opponents chose “recon” (which I believe is always taken by at least one side each game), disruptor beacon, and the shield generator. Of course, more were taken on both sides, but these are the ones I can think of that had an immediate effect.
The Imperials assumed (correctly) that they would have to be under night fight for the first turn, so they used their spot lights to “light up” key targets on our side. I was pleased when they chose not to target my Hierophants, instead aiming at a Chaos Warhound, the Necron Titan, a Brass Scorpion and… well, I forgot the last target.
On the first turn, Brett coupled the assets of “Flank March” and “Careful Planning” to bring half of his army onto our table edge on the very first turn. Three baneblades came up behind a Chaos warhound and ruined his whole day. I’m not sure what the total damage was, but I know it was immobolized, lost one arm, and I believe it lost a few structure points. Despite the crushing loss on the first turn, Ben seemed unphased, as he still had his D weapon arm, and his entire plan was to vaporize the opposing shield generator with it…
If you can excuse the segway, I just want to voice a gripe about Flank March/Careful Planning. I don’t know that I’ve played in an Apoc game where this combo wasn’t used. Obviously, it’s a powerful combination, and typically there’s a good counter (lining your board edge with really cheap / disposable units–which prevent them from coming in). My complaint isn’t directed at Brett, but just in general. It’s fairly obvious and kind of boring. I’d like to see some more variation in our games, but then again, that’s probably why the Apoc games I host don’t allow for strategic assets and instead use strategy cards. If you’re interested in those strategy cards, you can read more about them in this post.
Meanwhile in the shooting phase, I paired off with Andy, lord of Titans and basically watched him whiff away the entire shooting phase against the brass scorpion. Despite unloading multiple Titan’s worth of weapons, the only damage he’d managed to inflict was to rip off the demolisher cannon. Sadly, he did manage to penetrate it multiple times (even with D weapons), but only managed to roll higher than a 2 a single time. Sadly, time ran out before he was able to fire all of his weapons (which in hindsight, is odd because he only had three models to fire with). He had the template in hand and was ready to roll the dice to hit with his vortex missile when the timekeeper yelled “drop dice, on to assault phase!”..
Of which, I don’t believe they had a single assault on the first turn, so it moved to our turn. One of the first shots of the game took out the shield generator, and a void shield off the warlord, but by far the most painful salvo came from the warlord itself. You see, our Necron player had taken an asset that allowed his lord to take control over one of their models and fire a single weapon. He chose that unfired vortex missile and used it to rip two structure points off another of Andy’s titans. To add insult to injury, the strategic asset also does a handful of glancing hits, which prevented the warlord from firing his D weapon in the following turn.
Otherwise, there were many casualties of our first turn–but with so many super heavies around, it was hard to keep track of it all. I know that I killed a couple of Kurt’s land raiders, and Ben charged his brass scorpion into combat, which it eventually lost and went Apocalyptic on (killing many nearby terminators). Otherwise, I don’t recall any other specific casualties.
By the second turn, most of the D weapons on our opponents’ titans were shaken, so their damage output was reduced. Despite this, this managed to reduce Ben’s already damaged warhound to nothing more than a standing structure point. It couldn’t move or shoot, it just had the ability to make a stomp attack (should any opponent be silly enough to charge it). Later it wound up shutting down to heal up and regained it’s turbo laser destructor.
By the way, I never knew this was an available option on titans: did everyone know they could just shut themselves down and fix their weapons and drives? I can’t be the only one that was surprised by that rule…
Elsewhere, the Thunderhawk dropped off Draigo and his buddies over by Evil Incorporated (a building we’d named because of it’s signage and the fact that it contained one of our objectives). Draigo and his buddies would eventually eat another Swarmlord to the complete and udder confusion of the Tyranid player. Well, it’s a far cry better than my last game where he killed the Swarmlord, a Hierophant, a couple of Tervigons and basically anything else that looked his way. You can read more about the battle where I learned to hate Draigo here…
The only thing that was keeping Draigo in check for this game was the fact that I’d brought my Capillary Towers. This was the first game I’d used them, and I have to say they’re certainly worth their points cost (which should be obvious, since they’re free). If you don’t know what they do, it extends “shadow of the warp” to the entire table, but lets them ignore the effect of perils. In effect, this was reducing the number of times that Dan was able to pass psychic tests with his Grey Knights.
During the second turn, Brett made what I believe to be a questionable decision in bringing his hoard of dreadnoughts right up behind us. Sure, there were plenty of juicy Necron targets back there that would easily die to 15+ dreads, but ultimately, they didn’t wind up doing a whole lot in the game. I think he could’ve moved them closer to an objective, and though he wouldn’t have held it, it would’ve been a whole lot harder for us to knock him off it. For instance, by the end of the game there was an objective just a few feet away from him that was held by five measley hormagaunts… But, I guess hindsight is 20/20, eh?
As the game progressed, Titans from both sides around the board started falling to hails of enemy fire. Even the Warlord was forced to shut down to repair it’s weapons and drives. One titan became locked in combat with my Hierophant and sadly it took me two full turns of combat to actually kill it (it had been completely neutered in my original attack, but after that point, I had the hardest time rolling even a single 5…). It made for a nice looking epic struggle in the center of the board though, and made me cringe at the idea that you can’t even shoot into combat between titans… Is it really that risky to fire at targets the size of buildings?
Elsewhere for zaniness, the Necron pylons wracked up a fairly impressive lot of kills. With 3 D weapon shots, one was able to destroy the Thunderhawk (who had landed to drop off Draigo), and the other landed on the opposite side of the board and decimated Zion’s artillery batteries. The rules for the Pylon allow it to drop down in the middle of the lot, and instead of it moving to fit, the pylon moves those items that are below it (apparently even immobile platforms run in fright from Necron invasion). Once it landed, it threw out d6 s6 shots to everything within 18″, which was completely chaos for weapon platforms.
Meanwhile, my doom and some Ymgarls fell into the same platforms with similar ideas (though they were far less successful). As usual, the doom came down and sucked himself up to 10 wounds, killing off the crew from two weapon platforms, and destroying a third with his mental demolisher cannon. In response, he was charged by a dreadnought and was locked in combat for the next for turns. To my surprise, he’s really not that bad in that role: 3A, WS4, I4, S-X (which happened to be between 7 and 10, depending upon how many guardsmen strayed too close to the combat). He managed to make his field save each turn, and almost unerringly scored two hits on the dread in return. Of those, one would glance (never penetrate), and would roll either a 1 or 2 on the damage. He only escaped combat when the Ymgarls finally charged in (and even then it took two combat phases to take him out).
It was lucky though, because the nearby Pylon which had decimated most everything around it had just fallen during the previous turn to a band of thunderwolves, leaving them in complete control of the objective. However, between the Doom and 16 shots from a bored Hierophant, that threat was promptly neutralized, and the Ymgarls moved to contest–though we did try to throw some barbed heirodule shots into the nearby rhinos, we just didn’t have enough firepower to crack both open and dispatch with the 20 marines inside. So, without rolling, we gave up this objective as contested.
Meanwhile, in the corner formerly filled with Andrew’s malstrom of gore (along with his bikers, and practically Kurt’s entire army, with some Nurgle terminators and Imperial Guard thrown in to boot)… things were looking pretty Imperialistic by the end. Our only hope there was to move a Hierophant in to contest, but those infernal goody-two-shoes players kept throwing flyers in his way. This would block his path, and give me very little recourse: I couldn’t charge them as flyers; I couldn’t really move around them; and I had a hard time shooting them down. To top it off, they had at least three vendettas alive that could cycle through and just harrass me all game. Luckily, the afformentioned pylon was able to snipe them down with some sort of AA mounted D weapon (have I mentioned that I think Necrons are overpowered?). In the end, the combo worked and I muscled in to contest.
On our side of the board (well, technically it was our side, but really it was about smack dab in the middle), the Imperials had placed an objective immediately in front of Tysons wall of “tactical dreadnought armor.” Between two super heavies going apocalyptic, and some cute work by our resident Dark Eldar, I was surprised to see by the end that his objective wasn’t squarely in the hands of the Emporer’s finest. My reaction to this was to ask “just how many apocalyptic explosions have there been in this game.”
Ben looked me squarely in the eye and said, “well, I know that I’m directly responsible for three.”
God, I love chaos…
The other Imperial objective we had placed in toxic slime on their corner of the board. It probably wasn’t a tactically genius move, but it did seem suitably evil. They had defended it with a massive block of ogryn, some GK paladins, IG artillery, and more leman russes than you can shake a stick at. We’d only threw 35 Ymgarl stealers at them to compensate, and while I’d managed to nullify the artillery, the GK’s just proved too steadfast for me (though perhaps that had something to do with the fact that I only rolled 2 rends in 40 attacks? Of course, the battle lasted for several turns, but the rends never did get better than that…). End result: Imperials hold that objective.
The other neutral objective had been placed in some nearby tarpits. Originally it was defended by the Necron titan and a Hierophant–but they had both vacated the premises rather early in the game (in the case of the Necron model, permenantly). Otherwise, this was fairly unmolested throughout the course of the game. The only time I really saw anyone make a move towards it was on (or about) the final turn of the game–where the Imperials pointed dreadnoughts and artillery fire towards it in an attempt to clear out the hormagaunts nearby. They weren’t successful enough though, and that left the objective in our hands.
The final objective was the one we’d dubbed “Evil Incorporated.” Again, it wasn’t placed for strategic significance, but rather because it was cool to put one in the building that was labeled “evil.” Battle had raged on here, and it switched hands throughout the game. To start off, we had it with some minor squad, and Draigo waded in and cleared it out when his big-pimpin’ ride (aka. Thunderhawk) dropped him off. His squad didn’t include any thunderhammers though, so a bevy of Q’s dreadnoughts eventually kicked him out of our Evil HQ. By the end, we not only controlled it, but the guys had positioned tiers of squads around it for a final photo op (I wonder if they’d done this before they knew they won, or if they were just playing ultra-cocky). Either way, I approve.
Imperials 1 vs. Evil HQ 2
As always, a good time was had by all. Thanks again to Andrew for hosting.
If you’re interested, I did take other pictures of the game, and below are the best of the lot.
What I Learned:
Though I don’t always do a “what I learned” from Apoc games, I definitely learned some things that others might not already know, so I thought I’d share them:
- Titans Can Repair: Several titans shut down and came back from the dead. With that in mind, they’re really not a bad choice for this game–especially those of the giant variety, who have an absurd amount of structure points.
- When playing timed games, do the important stuff first: This pretty much goes without saying, but it’s worth repeating. Andy’s vortex missile didn’t seem particular devastating, but it was rather demoralizing. It did make the highlight of my game though…
- Capillary Towers are Fair: I don’t mean that they’re mediocre, but rather that they’re balanced. I really liked the effect of cancelling my opponents’ psychic powers more often, but the fact that they could ignore perils made it a bit of a trade off. Granted, I got more benefit than my opponent did, but all it really did was reduce the effectiveness of psychic powers for my opponents.
- Warp Field doesn’t belong on Hierophants: Yes, I know they say they have warp field, and yes, RAW folks will let it have a 2+/3++ because of it, but that’s just crazy. In games where we use it as a 5++, they die. In Muldoon games, you’re better off not shooting at them at all (which is what our opponents wisely did this game).
- Flyers are ricockulous: I like the addition of flyers to the game, as it harkens me back to the days of 2nd edition and “flying high” with units. I just think the way they’re implemented is nuts. Everything in the game fires less weapons as they move faster, except flyers, which can magically fire everything, and get two additional defensive bonuses. Even worse, they block movement/LoS for other ground based units, but they really can’t be affected by them?
The only downsides for flying are that you have to move at least 36″ (which, let’s face it, isn’t hard to do in Apoc games), and that they can’t drop off passengers unless they move to hover mode (which is easily mitigated by just not dropping off troops). I’m not sure what the best way to “fix” this is, but it’s obvious to me that flyers need a little tweaking to bring them in line with the rest of the game.