Batrep: Space Wolves vs. Tyranids (2000 pts)

I had a surprise game last week when I thought I was going to be spending a lazy Sunday at home with the family. A friend came by unexpectedly and challenged be to a game of 40k. The list was fielded by Randall, a relative newcomer to the gaming group, and this proved to be my first game against him. He insisted this was just a game that he’d lose in order to learn more, while I was coming off a long winning streak, feeling destined to lose big…

Space Wolves Army

  • wh39kRandalRob (1)HQ:
    • Njal Stormcaller
    • Canis Wolfborn + 5 wolves
  • Elites:
    • (Venerable?) Dreadnought w/ Assault Cannon
    • 5x Wolfguard Terminators lead by Arjac Rockfist
  • Troops:
    • 10x Grey Hunters w/ 2x Melta, Banner, & Wulfen in Drop Pod
    • 10x Grey Hunters w/ Plasma, Banner, & Wulfen
    • 5x Grey Hunters w/ Melta, Banner, & Wulfen
    • 5x Grey Hunters w/ Melta, Banner, & Wulfen
  • Fast Attack:
    • 1x Landspeeder w/ Missile Launcher & Heavy Bolter
  • Heavy Support:
    • 6x Long Fangs w/ 2x Missile, Heavy Bolter, & 2x Plasma
    • Land Raider Crusader
    • Vindicator

It’s been several months since I’ve played a game at all, and probably pushing a year since I’ve played against a Space Wolf player, so forgive me if I’ve got the list jumbled up a bit. I’m compiling the list based upon memory (from just two days ago) and the photo.

What I really remember about the force was being terrified of those infernal longfangs. The rest of the list wasn’t too bad, though there’s always innate fear on my part when it comes to facing against demolisher cannons.

Tyranid Forces:

  • wh39kRandalRob (2)HQ:
    • Swarmlord + 1x Tyrant Guard w/ Lashwhip (Biomancy: Iron Arm, Endurance, Hemorrhage, The Quickening)
    • Parasite of Mortrex
  • Elites:
    • Deathleaper
    • 7x Ymgarl Genestealers
    • 7x Ymgarl Genestealers
  • Troops:
    • 4x Ripper Swarms
    • 4x Ripper Swarms
    • 10x Termagants
    • Tervigon w/ Catalyst & Scything Talons (Doh! I forgot to include Toxin Sacs!)
    • 5x Genestealers inc. Broodlord w/ Talons (Biomancy: Enfeeble & Endurance)
    • 5x Genestealers inc. Broodlord w/ Talons (Biomancy: Enfeeble & Endurance)
  • Fast Attack:
    • 20x Gargoyles
    • 20x Gargoyles
  • Heavy Support:
    • Trygon Prime w/ Toxin Sacs

I wanted to go with some unusual choices in this game. I figured that since Randall was young and relatively new to 40k, I could mix up some “inferior” choices into my list and make it a bit more competitive. In hindsight, he’d played far more games than I thought…

Still, I started my list with the Parasite as my intended Warlord. Then, I’d added Deathleaper because he seemed to fit that same vibe (ie. Interesting, but likely not very good). And it’d been a while since I’d played with either, so why not include them. Next, I threw in the 40 gargoyles for a parasitic escort, and made my troops the Ripper Swarms. I included Ymgarls (not for unusual choices, but because they’re just solid), and then stepped back and looked at the list. By then, I’d had zero synapse creatures, zero MC’s, and a pretty rough looking list. It was at that point that I started filling in the usual suspects.

With the Swarmlord included, he quickly pushed the Parasite aside to be the warlord. The rest of the choices seem fairly self explanatory.

In the end, it’s not a bad list, though I certainly wouldn’t throw it in a “hyper-competitive” category. Still, I was interested to have some fun and try out some new toys:


wh39kRandalRob (3)For deployment, Randall already had his army list created, so I showed him to where I stored the terrain and gave him free reign as to how he wanted to set it up. He went for a thematic table with lopsided terrain. The idea was that it was supposed to be the edge of a city where it met a forest, and a small river flowed through the entire battleground.

When we diced off for mission, we got “football” (ie. The Relic), and deployment on the short table edges to make for a true grid-iron game. Randall won, and naturally chose the side with really tall buildings to prop his long fangs up in, and I was left on the barren side running into the city.

I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, right? Good thing I brought so many gargoyles to use as a screen…

For Warlord traits, both of us rolled on the personal table, and we both rolled up the trait where we got extra VP’s when our warlords won challenges in assault.

Meanwhile, Deathleaper went out his way to ruin Njal’s day: -3 to leadership…

Turn 1: Space Wolves

wh39kRandalRob (4)One thing Randall was really interested in doing was using the random terrain/river table. The first thing he wound up doing was charging in head-first with Canis and his retinue—to find that it granted FNP to the entire squad while they were in the slime! While that was great news, he was chagrined to learn that Canis was not, in fact, a beast, which meant that the doggies had to slow down for him, and he had to roll difficult/dangerous terrain tests. Still, he never failed one, and I don’t think he ever had a turn where he didn’t roll a 6 for movement…

Randall surged forward with much of his army—towards the objective. In the meantime, between the long-fangs, the hurricane bolters, and the myriad of other bolters in the list, 70% of my gargoyles were dead before I got to even throw a dice. He even managed to squish a couple of ripper bases with a stray plasma cannon blast.

Njal, paranoid that something was out to get him, managed to flub his first spell of the turn (lightning) and then passed his second test with the dreaded double 1’s.

His drop pod reserve squad came in automatically, and they only helped to thin down the winged beasts. Sadly, that left a clear path between them and the Swarmlord..

Turn 1: Tyranids

wh39kRandalRob (5)I really couldn’t do much this turn. I had one gun in the army that could fire over 12”, so was forced to just surge forward myself. The positive side of things was that he’d thinned out so many of my models that were awkward to move, but the down side was that I had no screen left. I’m pretty sure that the only things that wound up happening on this turn were:

My swarmlord, along with the Parasite (who’d broken from his almost completely decimated squad), flew into the sacrificial drop pod crew and slaughtered them to a man, then used their consolidate to move in next to the drop pod. That eventually meant that his vindicator would have no shot to fire next turn, as he couldn’t center the blast over one of my models and not at least clip his pod—though I must admit that was completely unintentional. Still, it looked like a brilliant move!

And first blood was mine.

Otherwise, I cast a bunch of blessings (including quite a few FNP’s, and Iron Arm on the Swarmy), and plinked enough shots into the landspeeder that I managed to score a couple of glances—but Jink saved it from crashing completely.

Turn 2: Space Wolves

wh39kRandalRob (6)More of the same from the first round really: everything poured wounds into my forces, and one of my gargoyle squads fell completely (ironically though, not the one that was down to four birds when the turn started). But, because of the way he chose to fire, this eventually left his Vindicator with nothing to fire at.

On the other half of the board, there was quite a bit of firepower pouring into the Trygon, and he took four wounds in the shooting phase to a combination of Arjac’s hammer, the Land Raider & the Long Fangs. With confidence, Randall charged in, only to watch the Trygon pimp slap Arjac and remain standing (hurrah for our hero!).

On a less fantastic battlefront for me, Canis charged into the swarms on the objectives and pretty well slaughtered them—though the fact that the slimy river they were standing in giving them FNP saved that combat: leaving just over a base left to fight back. Still, that was enough to hold him tight until something meatier could get there.

Turn 2: Tyranids

More buffs (including a successful FNP deployment from my Tervigon that resulted in her taking an unsavable wound), and an enfeeble on the Terminators in combat with the Trygon. All of my reserves came out, bringing a squad of Ymgarls to play with the Long Fangs, another to help out the Swarmlord, and Deathleaper (who hid like a girl—not wanting to relinquish the LD impact I had on the only psyker on the table). Again, I had virtually no shooting, so it was straight on to assaults.

wh39kRandalRob (7)The swarmlord broke from the tyrant guard and they multi-assaulted the speeder and Njal’s crew. Njal accepted my challenge, and fell quickly to the might of a S/T 9 MC that forced him to reroll failed invulnerable saves then make tests against a leadership of 7 on 3d6 or suffer ID. Still, there was some risk involved, despite my thinking I was immune, since Njal has a force staff, which gave him the ability to wound me on 6’s.

Meanwhile, the tyrant guard snuck in a glance on the speeder and destroyed it. In other combats, a squad of ‘stealers joined the Trygon and reduced the Terminator squad to just a pair of lightning claws (which failed to wound the Trygon—down to a single wound).

Canis and his doggies meanwhile, were working their way through the rippers and assorted gaunts, so I threw the Parasite into the mix. After a round or two, he did manage to finally kill a dog—who failed his ensuing toughness test. Bingo! Free Rippers!

At this point, Randall was pretty convinced this was a really cheesy character. I’m not sure I ever was able to convince him otherwise. Ho hum…

Anywho, the Ymgarls chose toughness for the first round (as always), and only managed to kill one long fang (who, by the way, managed to only kill one in the snapfire preceding the charge). All in all, it was a pretty stalemated battle.

Turn 3: Space Wolves

wh39kRandalRob (8)Randall moved up a small squad of grey hunters to assist the long fangs, and between the group, they destroyed all but one Ymgarl (and I managed to do a whopping 0 wounds in retaliation). Still, they did prevent the Long Fangs from firing at me for at least one turn, so they weren’t a total loss.

Elsewhere, the other combats ended in a fairly predictable fashion: Trygon + Broodlord + 4x Genestealers vs. 1x Terminator = Slaughter. Swarmlord + 7 Ymgarls vs. 9 Marines = severely tilted in my favor (though he did have a couple of marines live to annoy me next turn). Canis + dogs vs. my fodder = bad for me, but I managed to keep some alive. He also tried to throw a dreadnought into the combat here, but failed his charge roll, so he was forced to watch from the outside…

Again, this was another turn where the vindicator had no shot to fire. This time the problem was that he was in close to a massive assault, and there just weren’t any nearby targets. On top of that, he really had to back up at full distance to keep from being charged by the Swarmlord in ensuing rounds…

His land raider wound up firing upon the Trygon, along with some other units, but they just couldn’t shake his last wound….

Turn 3: Tyranids

wh39kRandalRob (11)More big bigs squishing other things around them. After freeing themselves from the combat with the Terminator, the Trygon stepped up and smashed the Land Raider (literally), and the ensuing blast fragged a couple of his little buddy genestealers.

Finally, the Tervigon stepped into the fray with Canis and issued a challenge, which Canis accepted, and managed to do a fair number of wounds to my broodmother. Thank god for Feel no Pain, eh? In retaliation, she squashed him good with smash attacks, reminding everyone of the value of an invulnerable save.

As expected, the Swarmlord and his crew dispatched the last few marines and then surged forward towards the Vindicator.

At this point, Randall opted to call it. I already had first blood, slay the warlord, and an extra VP for killing Njal in a challenge. It seemed unlikely that he’d get slay the warlord, or linebreaker (which seemed almost inevitable for me), so the only hope he had to even tie was to hold the objective. With two small units of grey hunters left, nowhere near the objective (which was covered in bugs), it seemed fairly hopeless, so he cried no joy.

What I learned:

  1. wh39kRandalRob (12)I really need to play more. The number of rules I had to look up was astonishing. I do try to dutifully look up anything where there’s remotely any doubt for me, but that takes time, and I think makes the game less fun. Playing more games (or at least reading the book again) would go a long way to changing that.
  2. The Parasite of Mortrex is that bad. I wanted him to be good—I really did, but for 160 points, he just doesn’t have much going for him. 4x Rending attacks puts him on par with a Slaanesh demon or two (who come in around 20 points total). The spawning of rippers is a cute dream at best, and even if it does come to fruition: they’re just rippers. I was sad to realize that outflank is almost completely gone too—with the removal of the ability to charge after arriving from reserves.
  3. Deathleaper isn’t without merit. He worked out reasonably well for me: reducing the enemy warlord/psyker to LD7 was a nice trick. Was it worth the 100+ points I paid? Well, probably not. Still, I wasn’t unhappy that he was in my list.
  4. Ymgarls don’t automatically kill everything they touch. Really, I’ve learned that before, but I don’t think it matters. The fact that they tied up a nasty squad of long fangs, and then forced another squad to move out of position to assist made for points well spent.

12 comments on “Batrep: Space Wolves vs. Tyranids (2000 pts)

  1. seems to be a glitch in your army list, perhaps you formatted some of the text with the same color as the background? Anyway i looked hard but don’t see that one thing…you know, the one that starts with a D, ends with OOM?

    anyway fun report, i think it really reinforces that the big bugs need your attention asap. Any army that can deal with them in good time stands a good chance against the bugs, an army that struggles taking out hard targets however will find them frustrating at the very least.

    I need to break my nids out again i got into them for the big bugs and the new edition has been very kind such as them, perhaps here soon Rob we should play a team game of nids vs whatever.

    • Would love to throw down with you sometime. I’m not getting in many games of 40k as of late and as I understand it, it your games are pretty sparse as well. I’m certainly due for a loss, so why not make it against Cole?

      As for the Doom, he’s essentially an auto-include, but I’m trying to mix things up more with my lists. This is especially true with Dave & Randall, since Dave plays ‘nidz almost exclusively and will literally not play a game without the Doom. That means, against Dave, there would be two Doom’s out on the table, so the game I threw down with him, I didn’t bring the Doom either (link here: I spared Randall the Doom because his primary opponent is Dave, so I’m sure he’s sick of that model by now.

      As for the comments RE: sixth & big bugs, I’m really not sure that 6th has helped them all that tremendously. I think they’ve always been good, but the proliferation of Biomancy makes all Tyranids more durable. It’s gone a long way to make them a competitive army…

  2. You know, I never even thought of using Deathleaper to mind-boggle enemy psykers. That’s awesome, and around here, very much worth its points. Folks have latched on to psykers and flyers witha vengeance in 6th. Deathleaper is now definitely on my shopping list.

    • It works doubly well when they make that psyker their warlord. All in all, he was probably worth his points this game, as Njal did almost nothing; however, I’m not sure that would be as true if he had only rolled a 1 or 2 for the leadership penalty.

      • I’ve seen some psychic powers have a game-breaking effect; Puppet Master’s up there, as are some of the Divination suite. If you have the anti-psyker tool that is quite capable of doing something else, I say keep taking it – it’ll be worth it if it keeps a real bugger of a power in check.

      • I haven’t really been devastated by psykers as of yet. In most of my games, people don’t seem to run very many (aside from me), though I’m sure deathleaper is something to keep in my back pocket as a modicum of psychic defense.

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