For games this week, Simon and Brandon showed up–though Simon wasn’t feeling particularly up to gaming, so he sat on the side and painted up a Chaos dragon and provided color commentary. Brandon and I, however decided to throw down. Since I only purchased my marine codex on Thursday (and opened it for the first time an hour before the game started), I opted to play my bugs. Naturally, Brandon was anxious to break out his marines for his first game with his new book. Hence battle Bugs vs. Marines…
- Hive Tyrant w/ Wings, Whip & Sword, Scything Talons, Wings, (Leech Essence, Paroxysm)
- Doom of Malan’tai in Pod (Cluster Spines)
- 6x Ymgarl Genestealers
- 2x Hive Guard
- 11x Termagants
- Tervigon w/ Catalyst, Scything Talons, Toxin Sacs (Catalyst, Dominion)
- 5x Genestealers inc/ broodlord w/ scything talons (Biomancy: Warp Speed)
- 5x Genestealers inc/ broodlord w/ scything talons (Biomancy: Warp Speed, Endurance)
- Fast Attack:
- 4x Raveners w/ Rending Claws
- Heavy Support:
- Trygon Prime w/ Toxin Sacs & Adrenal Glands
I started off my list creation with the flyrant, and threw in the Doom (because I think it’s been a while since I used him—and I’m certain I didn’t use him last game). I then threw in the Tervigon for troops, and everything else just sort of clumped together. I wasn’t terribly happy about the Raveners because I don’t think four is enough to really survive to make it into combat (originally there were 6, but I had to save points). Likewise, I’d cut down the Ymgarls from 8 to 6, but hoped that would still be enough to be effective.
Brandon’s Salamanders Space Marines:
- Librarian w/ Pyromancy Powers
- 5x Terminators
- Ironclad in Drop Pod w/ H. Flamer/Melta
- 10x Tactical Squad w/ Flamer & Multimelta in Rhino
- 10x Tactical Squad w/ Melta & Multimelta in Rhino
- 8x Tactical Squad w/ Flamer & Combi-flamer in Drop Pod
- Fast Attack:
- Storm Talon (Assault Cannons & H. Bolters)
- 5x Bikers w/ Combi(flamer?) & 2x Melta
- Heavy Support:
- Thunderfire Cannon
- 10x Devastators w/ 4x Missile Launchers
(This is from memory/image, so there may be some discrepencies. I’m sure his list contained far more combi-weapons than I’ve given him credit for, as he seemed quite fond of those).
Brandon’s list was daunting to me because he seemed to have so many more models than I did (which just didn’t seem right, as I’m supposed to be the horde army). Still, he had 58 models to my 38, including things with guns—of which I had very few.
For psychic powers, he rolled up a Pyromancy ability that gave me +2 STR and an invulnerable save. I don’t rightfully remember what it’s called though…
He reserved the Storm Talon & two drop pods (one with a tactical squad, librarian, & techmarine, the other with an Ironclad).
Mission & Deployment:
- Cole had mentioned in the last game I’d played with him that the board needed more LoS blocking terrain.
- I had just assembled them earlier in the week (see this post for more info).
- They were out. In fact, they were on the table that I game on, and my dad had borrowed my ladder so there was no place to put them away. So, I figured I might as well cover the table in buildings…
The mission we rolled up was kill points with diagonal deployment areas. I won the die roll and opted to stay on the side I was already on. I didn’t really see much of a strategic advantage to moving, and my models were already on that side of the board. I did make sure to take corner of my side that had more cover on it though.
We diced for first turn and again I won, deploying first in the middle of the line. Since it was kill points, I’d opted to put the squad of Termagants off to my flank inside a building. They’d be out of synapse over there, but if he wanted to kill them, he’d have to alienate himself on the other side of the board to do so. As a result, they did nothing but lurk the entire game—though they did take a few hits from the thunderfire…
Brandon piled into the corner of the board (he opted not to spread out, I think it was because he wanted to be able to counter assault my flyrant when she hit his lines—though it’s also because the size of deployment zones in this game are oddly small).
My warlord trait was “Princeps of Deceit” from the Strategic Traits list which gave me a slight redeployment. I used it to move my Raveners closer towards his army. Likewise, I’d infiltrated the ‘stealers into the center ruins, and another group off to my left flank in a smallish blindspot created by the terrain.
Brandon failed to seize the initiative and we were off to the races…
Turn 1: Tyranids
I started off by throwing up Endurance on my Flyrant and catalyst on the Trygon and surging forward with everything. I’d originally positioned my models during deployment so that the Flyrant would be in his face first turn, and the rest of my forces could take cover in the center of the board before surging to a hopeful turn 2 assault.
I’d had internal concerns when I’d saw how many models Brandon had, but once we deployed, I thought my list was looking pretty solid.
Still, it was a relatively uneventful first turn: I only had shots from the Hive Guard (two glances on a Rhino) and the Flyrant unleashed “life leech” on the terminators causing exactly 0 unsaved wounds (drat). Still, I was in good position, so I passed off the dice with confidence.
KP Totals: Tyranids 0 vs. Salamanders 0
Turn 1: Salamanders
It didn’t take long for Brandon to show me that my confidence was completely unfounded. It started on my left flank, where a tactical squad disembarked from the rhino, and unloaded the perfect amount of shots to vaporize my genestealers there.
He followed this up with an insulting plink from his rhino’s storm-bolter which immediately grounded my flyrant (ruh-roh), and added another tactical squad, terminators, and devastors into the mix to ensure that she died the death. In hindsight, I’d forgotten that she had FNP, so maybe she would’ve survived until the assault phase, but those Terminators would’ve almost assuredly killed her there anyway.
He’d dropped his Librarian and buddies right into the center of my force (which initially pleased me—thinking I’d be able to charge him with all sorts of goodies). They managed to vaporize the Raveners, and kill off a couple of nearby genestealers (which would be charged by the bikers as well, in a scrum that would last a few turns).
So, my uneventful turn and great positioning was responded by:
- Killing my Commander, First Blood, KP
- Killing the Raveners
- Killing a squad of ‘stealers
- Taking down the other squad of genestealers to just two models
This was disheartening, almost to the point of being back-breaking. I honestly considered throwing in the towel here, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to come back from that at all. I did continue though because I want to be a good sport, and I honestly didn’t think it would take all that long for him to completely wipe me off the board…
KP Totals: Tyranids 0 vs. Salamanders 5
Turn 2: Tyranids
The doom was goodly enough to show up in my reserves, but I think that’s only because the Mycetic Spore didn’t have any windows, so he had no idea of the carnage that had just occurred on the battlefield below. The Ymgarls, hiding in a nearby piece of terrain, had been there to see the devastation and were smart enough to stay in hiding…
I tried to put the Doom in a position where he would be sucking wounds out of the bike squad, his “command squad,” (which is really just a glorified tactical squad), and another tactical squad. I wanted to suck his terminators too, but there just wasn’t a position where I was going to get them into the mix. Sadly, he deviated a whopping 10” off course, but he ultimately wound up in not too bad of a location: sucking wounds out of the tactical squad, devastators, & terminators. I didn’t want to be there because of the vast amount of nearby str8 shots…
He did kill a couple of the devastators with his life leech ability, along with four nearby tactical marines, and his ensuing “demolisher cannon” shot killed two terminators. So, even if he died, he was at least doing some damage.
Elsewhere, my hive guard joined the fray with the genestealers & bikers, which turned into a protracted combat that spanned several turns. Brandon seems to think this wasn’t a good move on my part because I lost my ability to shoot things. My thought process though was that two measly ‘stealers weren’t going to hold a bike squad at bay on their own, and I didn’t want him to be able to fire off those melta guns and charge whomever he wanted, so why not tie him up a little longer?
The Trygon charged into his “command squad” and punked five marines, receiving one wound in return. They broke and ran away (I don’t think I sweeping advanced a single time during this entire game). Nearby, the Tervigon charged into the drop pod, and smashed it to death, earning me my first kill point of the game!
KP Totals: Tyranids 1 vs. Salamanders 5
Turn 2: Salamanders
His reserves opted not to show up at all, so he just pounded me with what he had on hand. His devastators opted to stay put so that they could fire at the Trygon. While they did cause a wound, that proved to be a mistake because they lost two more brothers to the Doom’s powers that shooting phase, which caused them to break and run. That meant that several of them had to jump off the second floor of the building, so another marine died in the route.
The terminators advanced towards the Doom and lost a single member (their squad leader, who was silly enough not to bring a powerfist to the fight, and thus deemed “expendable”). And charged in, but rolled fairly horrible, and the Doom lived to fight another day.
The “command squad” powered up their psyker and with fire in their eyes, they charged into the Trygon and proceeded to whiff again. I’m pretty sure they managed to cause a couple of wounds, but not enough to kill him. Their best option for that: the force sword, was a complete whiff fest, leaving the Trygon to devour the hapless psyker, and the squad broke and ran again…
Maybe the game wasn’t as hopeless as I’d previously thought? That gave me another kill point and slay the warlord, for a total of three points.
KP Totals: Tyranids 3 vs. Salamanders 5
Turn 3: Tyranids
My Ymgarls, inspired by the site of fleeing devastators, jumped out of the same piece of terrain and charged into them. As always, I chose +1 Toughness as my initial mutation, and killed very few of the marines, thereby ensuring that I’d be locked in combat until his turn. In retaliation, he didn’t kill any in actual combat, but he had managed to kill a single one on the initial overwatch fire.
The Doom had only one squad of victims nearby (the terminators), who were pretty devout with their leadership rolls, so they lived through another turn. Luckily, they rolled as low with their attacks as they did with their leadership, so I didn’t have to make too many 3++ saves to keep the doom around, and he made every one of them.
The Trygon surged forward towards the fleeing techmarine and the remnants of the “command squad.” His electrostatic pulse was enough to slay the techmarine (and earn another KP), but the broken squad was forced to take another leadership check, which caused them to run away again—out of charge range. L
Meanwhile, the Tervigon waddled into the ongoing skirmish between the bikers and the ‘stealers/hive guard and challenged the sergeant—each of them trading wounds (but she was tough enough to survive the blow, sadly, the human was not).
KP Totals: Tyranids 4 vs. Salamanders 5
Turn 3: Salamanders
Despite rallying, his tactical squad kept fleeing from the Trygon and hid behind a nearby rhino. Their firepower, added to another nearby tactical squad was enough to take out my Mycetic Spore and earn another KP.
His Storm Talon did arrive from reserves and peppered the nearby Trygon, causing another wound. This dropped him down to a merely 1-2 wounds left, but didn’t actually kill him.
The Terminators still held strong against the doom, who was miraculously making saves left and right, leaving them both tied up in combat for another turn. The devastators, however, were not so lucky against a squad of Ymgarls with +1 attacks for the turn. The two remaining members of the bike squad, likewise didn’t fair so well against my Tervigon.
By this point, the tide had actually turned enough that I thought this game might actually be winnable. We weren’t actively keeping track of the score, but things were definitely going my way. This was true enough that my newfound optimism was inversely proportionate to Brandon’s newfound pessimism.
KP Totals: Tyranids 6 vs. Salamanders 6
Turn 4: Tyranids
Doom sucked the life out of the Terminators, who finally managed to fail a leadership check, and threw a demolisher shot at a nearby rhino, stripping another hull point and killing two cowering tactical marines for another KP.
The Tervigon fired a shot into the ruins at the other tactical squad, but missed harmlessly. Luckily, the Ymgarls made a charge on the same squad, suffering 0 overwatch wounds and tied them up for another turn. The surviving marines were forced to consolidate into within 6” of the doom.
The combined shots from the Trygon and the Hive Guard managed to kill the storm talon for yet another point, much to the dismay of Brandon.
Still, I wasn’t so sure that the game was in the bag for me. I had commented that I had a bunch of small kill points waiting to be destroyed around the table, but he felt the same way. We still weren’t keeping an accurate account of kill points, so it wasn’t altogether clear who was in the lead and by how much…
KP Totals: Tyranids 9 vs. Salamanders 6
Turn 4: Salamanders
Hoping to help out, the Thunderfire cannon blasted into that squad and was surprisingly successful, killing one of them. Likewise, the storm bolter from the Ironclad’s drop pod proved sniperish killing the last of the genestealers and earning another Kill Point.
Elsewhere, his rhinos were doing their best to evade me—moving to a point where they’d be within 24” of some target while being as far away as humanly possible.
KP Totals: Tyranids 9 vs. Salamanders 8
Turn 5: Tyranids
1) Should I go for the easy KP’s or still attack the largest threats. I opted for the latter, thinking the game could continue for a few more turns and I could mop up the easy points later.
2) Because of #1 above, I charged my Tervigon into his Dreadnought, thinking she should be able to kill it (and weather the damage with Endurance). True to form, she caused a hull point and only took a wound in return, but I honestly expected more from her.
3) The Doom moved forward and shot at the nearby rhino, doing exactly no damage, but exposing himself to a multi-melta for the last turn of the game.
4) Really, the only shot that I did that was questionable was firing the remaining hive guard at the drop pod and not a rhino. The rhinos should’ve been easier to destroy with a str8 weapon, and the drop pod wasn’t going anywhere.
I do think that #4 was a mistake, but even in hindsight, I’m happy with the other options. Doom could’ve easily destroyed the rhino and traded KP’s with Brandon—plus it made the game more sporting than hiding him in the corner.
The last KP for me was charging his rhino with my Ymgarls and blowing that up—killing a Ymgarl in the blast.
KP Totals: Tyranids 10 vs. Salamanders 8
Turn 5: Salamanders
The thunderfire targets the Ymgarls and killed a couple, but not enough to actually count. Likewise, the only remaining tactical squad (in the rhino) shot at the doom, who weathered yet another s8 shot (but failed another wound caused by bolters).
The only other event that made a difference was the combat with the Ironclad, wherein he rolled another successful three wounds on the Tervigon. She only had to make a single FNP roll to live, but that wasn’t in the cards. She fell without being able to avenge herself.
Then we rolled to end the game, shook hands, and tallied up the carnage.
Tyranid Kill Points (11):
2) Slay the Warlord
4) Tactical Squad
5) Drop Pod
6) Bike Squad
7) Storm Talon
8) Terminator Squad
9) Tactical Squad #2
11) Linebreaker (Ymgarls)
1) First Blood
2) Hive Tyrant
3) Slay the Warlord
6) Mycetic Spore
7) Genestealers #2
A close game for sure. When we did a recap after the game, we determined that it could’ve easily been a tie, since Brandon could’ve gotten linebreaker himself, swooping into my deployment zone with his rhino/tactical squad. It looks like that wasn’t altogether true though in the write-up because I was actually ahead by two points, not just one.
My MVP is hard to determine. The Trygon is probably most deserving, as he’s responsible for 4VP’s alone (Librarian, Warlord, Techmarine, & Storm Talon), but the Doom is always worthy of a nomination if he lives. While he only racked up two points on his own (Terminators, Tactical Squad), he also thinned out another tactical squad & a devastator squad (not to mention breaking the latter), but he tanked two terminators for four combat phases and generally annoyed my opponent in the backfield. Without that, the midfield combat could’ve gone drastically different.
What I Learned:
- It’s always worth playing it out. Even if you’re just playing out a “hopeless” game in order to be a good sport, it’s worth it. It builds character and sometimes you can actually pull out a win (or at least a moral victory).
- Strategic Traits are good. I don’t think I roll on that chart very often. Normally, if I have a beefy HQ, I like to roll on Personal traits, but I’m not sure why—I guess it’s because I like the idea of having FNP or Scoring unit. Otherwise, if my commander isn’t uber, I go with command traits for some reason—but Strategic ones are quite good. Move through Cover (ruins) on this board would’ve been great, but I can see how it’s not always good (though I guess many of my units already have this). But it does also grant stealth. Night fight first turn isn’t bad. Acute senses is terrible. Reserve rolls with Doom/Ymgarls is good. While this isn’t an automatic go-to, it’s really worth considering.
- First turn is good. I think I’ve learned this before, but I play so infrequently, that it’s worth repeating. I debated whether I wanted to go first or second—trying to see an advantage to the latter. Ultimately I opted for first, but never considered the value of first blood. That’s definitely something that needs to be thought of when considering that initial decision.
- I forgot FNP on Tyrant. I’d forgotten about this during the game. I doubt it would’ve made much of a difference, but it definitely could’ve. I’ve looked into buying tokens/counters for this sort of thing in the past, but I could’ve justify the cost. Maybe though, after the new Tyranid book comes out, maybe I’ll break down and do just that.
- The new Marine codex isn’t all that different. There’s not a whole lot of change in point values or units available in the new dex that weren’t already available.
- It might be worth it to throw the vet sarge in marine units. I don’t recall seeing marines run away as much as they did in this particular game. I’m unsure if that can be chalked up to bad luck, or the fact that not all of his units had vet sarges, but that’s worth keeping an eye on.
- Salamanders are fairly nasty. Granted, they’re the only marines I’ve played against, but I’m still having flashbacks of that first turn with so many twin-linked flamers. Between that, and the fact that every character in his army had a twin-linked weapon, that seemed to be a pretty powerful ability to get “for free.”