Batrep: Hive Fleet Proteus vs. Chaos Space Marines (1888 pts)

My most recent game was against Brandon where we each got a little taste of formations in 40k:

Hive Fleet Proteus:

  • wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (1)HQ:
    • Flyrant with Maw Claws, Heavy Venom Cannon, & Toxin Sacs (Dominion & Catalyst)
  • Troops:
    • 17x Hormagaunts
    • 17x Hormagaunts
  • Heavy Support:
    • Trygon Prime w/ Toxin Sacs
    • Trygon Prime w/ Toxin Sacs
    • 3x Biovores
  • Formation: Wrecker Node
    • 3x Tyranid Warriors w/ Rending Claws & Deathspitters
    • 1x Carnifex w/ Adrenal Glands
    • 1x Carnifex w/ Adrenal Glands
    • 1x Carnifex w/ Adrenal Glands
  • Formation: Manufactorum Genestealers
    • 5x Genestealers
    • 5x Genestealers
    • 5x Genestealers
    • 5x Genestealers
    • 5x Genestealers

Well, this was certainly a deviation from standard lists for me. My goal was to try out a formation, but the end product was that I ultimately used two. I’m really surprised to see how little synapse I included (only four points), and that I completely omitted both Elites and Fast Attack choices (which I think is quite unusual for either). Even when you include the formations, I didn’t include anything in those that weren’t either Troops or Heavy Support.

In total, the list looks like: 1 HQ, 8x Troops, 6x Heavy Support. In hindsight, I’m surprised that such a list came out of me, but I s’pose I can mix it up now and again, right?

Anywho, I started out with the Flyrant (which I generally don’t care for, but people keep insisting she’s good), and then I knew I wanted to run a formation, but not exactly which one. I opted for the carnies as I thought it would let me overload on MC’s, which I thought would be good. With all of them having fleet, I put in some Trygons—hoping to deep strike them and create some sort of backfield shock (something I never do), and then I contemplated adding ‘stealers as my troops. That turned into another formation, and with only a few points left, I added Biovores and a cheap/fast moving troop choice to round out the list.

As is typical, there really isn’t much shooting in the list (although I did remember to give my hive Tyrant a gun). Given how good they’ve done in the last couple of games, I’m surprised I didn’t think to include a venomthrope.

Brandon’s Chaos Cult:

  • wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (3)HQ:
    • Dark Apostle w/ Gift of Mutation (+1 wound), Power armor, grenades, & Sigil of Corruption)
    • (ally) Bloodthirster w/ Second Axe of Khorne, FNP 4+ & Warp Haze
  • Elites:
    • Hellbrute w/ Twin-linked Lascannon
  • Troops:
    • 10x CSM w/ 2x Melta, Vets of the Long War, Power Fist in Rhino w/ Dirge Caster
    • 15x CSM w/ 2x Plasma, Vets of the Long War, Icon, Power Weapon
    • (ally) 10x Pink Horrors of Tzeentch
    • (ally) 10x Plaguebearers of Nurgle
  • Fast Attack:
    • 5x Warp Talons inc. Champ w/ Meltabombs
  • Heavy Support:
    • Defiler
  • Formation: Helcult
    • Hellbrute w/ Plasma Cannon
    • 20x Chaos Cultists w/ Autopistol & CCW
    • 10x Chaos Cultists w/ Autopistol & Autogun

Brandon’s lists (at least when it comes to chaos) are often very similar.  This is probably the most divergent I’ve seen fror him, as it includes a formation (more on this in a minute) and Warp Talons (which he insists are drastically overcosted).

wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (5)I disagree on the talons.  They’re essentially raptors (17 pts) that come with a lightning claws (25) and a 5++ invulnerable save (??) for 30 points per guy.  Hell, at that price you’re basically paying for the lightning claws and the rest is gravy.  While they’re certainly not the most powerful unit in the game (or the codex), making them cheaper is not what they need.  I think they suffer from the fact that other units are just so broken that it makes these seem bad in comparison, but as a guy that happily runs basic assault marines in my armies, I think these are just fine.

Anywho, back to Brandon’s list.  Obviously, he also ran a formation (actually, he was the rationale for me doing so—we had the game scheduled in advance and he asked me if I minded him running a formation, so why not do the same?).  When he asked if he could run one, I wasn’t sure what list he was going to play, but I suspected it would be Tyranids (As they have the most formations, and the most recent ones), but clearly I was wrong.  The one he took seemed pretty good, as it required him to take fairly decent units (though he again denies that helbrutes are any good) and gives them good rules on top of it.

The list also included a defiler (standard), which always prickles the hairs on the back of my neck, as I have a (perhaps irrational) fear of battle cannons.  His list would really be better served if he allied in a Soulgrinder though, but I guess he doesn’t have the model (it’s so much cooler looking anyway).  He didn’t include the hellcannon (or whatever it’s called) which would’ve given him another high STR large blast–however, since that has a relatively weak AP, that doesn’t strike the same level of fear into me as a battlecannon.  I’m sure it’s the marine player in me…

To round it out, he took the Bloodthirster, tooled up for combat.  That’s the model that has single handedly won him tournaments before.  Rest assured, I’ll complain more about him later. 🙂

Mission & Deployment:

wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (6)For mission, Brandon had both the Altar of War missions for bugs & chaos, so we opted to pick one of those. We randomly diced off and came up with Tyranids, then opted to pick the one that had the coolest name (though I’ll be damned if I can remember what it’s called—something with “infestation” in it, I believe).

The premise was that this was a prolonged fight on a Tyranid world, so all the terrain was considered dangerous. As a benefit, all of my Tyranid units got Move through cover & stealth. To counteract this, all of his units gained preferred enemy: Tyranids (something he forgot to use far too much). There was also a special rule for deployment where he got one corner of the board, and I got the other three (or at least 12” away from his corner). Originally that looked like it was going to be a really tight fit, but with that 12” gap, I wasn’t as close as I thought I’d be. Still, it was nice to have him cornered, especially because my army was so assault-centric.

I deployed first, and basically put my units in cover where they could, with my Hive Tyrant in the back center (warlord trait: Synaptic Lynchpin, so she was rocking a 24” synapse bubble), and then split up the carnies and Trygons on either side. The Genestealers were able to infiltrate into the various buildings—which didn’t get them all that much closer in most cases, but it was close enough to prove threatening. Between the fact that they got Shrouded and were in area terrain, I liked the odds of at least some of them surviving should he steal the initiative.

He deployed in practically the only manner that he could. He was severely limited in area, so his cultists made for a large screen in the front, his Bloodthirster hid behind the building, and everything else sort of took up firing positions/cover where they could.

When it came to seizing, there was some debate whether he would even attempt. I know I wanted him to win, so the Genestealers could charge the first turn, but he was thinking along the same lines, so he allowed me to go ahead. Mental note: Maybe this can be re-used in the future?

Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus

wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (7)This was far from a devastating turn, that really was all about positioning more than anything. The only real chance I had to score first blood was my Tyrant firing at his dreadnought, but all she managed to do was strip a hull point and force him into fire frenzy next turn. Everything in my line was able to move forward though, and for the most part, things worked out largely like I’d wanted. I didn’t get any first turn charges in (not a huge surprise)—but I did get things generally lined up with Hormagaunts in front of ‘stealers, and my big bugs all got into something approximating effective charge range for turn 2.

Of course, with everything having move through cover and me starting in an advantageous board position, that went a long way to making the turn seem better than it normally would be.

In shooting, my biovores were able to snipe out his icon bearer to remove the fearless ability from his CSM squad (which began an early wave of 1’s and 2’s coming out of Brandon’s dice), along with a few others—but they didn’t manage to pin anything.

Turn 1: Chaos

wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (10)While he didn’t have a super-shooty force, he managed to do some damage to me before my lines hit his. In movement, he did a little shifting around where his assault units were able to bear down on my flanks, while his more ranged-units stepped back and fired.

As stated before, his dreadnought went into fire frenzy, and wasn’t able to kill much of anything. His meltas and lascannons were pretty abysmal, also rolling 1’s far more than he’d care for (and we had forgotten at this point that he had preferred enemy). Luckily we remembered by the end of the turn and he went back and re-rolled some of the more notable 1’s we could recall.

His raptors and one of his dreads crashed into a Carnifex and took it down before it got a chance to strike back. On the other side of the table, the another ‘fex fell to a hail of plasma and whatever daemonic force was spit from the lungs of his Bloodthirster.   What remained of his cultist squad was able to charge my hormagaunts, but failed miserably to do much of anything. Between the fact that several died to the dangerous terrain on the way in, and what did make it in died in large numbers to the hormagaunts that laid in wait.

Turn 2: Hive Fleet Proteus

wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (18)It was at this point that the bulk of my forces hit his. Both squads of hormagaunts, managed to make it to combat (which isn’t really fair to say because one of them was already locked in combat with the cultists—but they did manage to clear those figures out by the end of the assault phase). His raptors that had previously assaulted my carnifex died at the hands of 10 genestealers (though through some odd twist of fate, I managed to roll enough rends to end them with the first squad alone) and Trygon on the right managed to make it into combat, along with a few squads of genestealers, to the 10-man CSM squad hiding in the trees.

By the end of the assault phase, none of my units were still locked in combat—having killed everything that I had charged. While that felt good, it did leave me disturbingly exposed…

Turn 2: Chaos

wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (20)Both of his reserves came in, allowing his pink horrors to drop in the back of my lines and pester the Biovores, and his plaguebearers dropped on the other side of them, threatening—well, I’m not sure what. I did see them as another easy kill point though, so I knew I was going to charge with something…

The bloodthirster came out of the sky and reminded me why I’m so utterly terrified of it. He assaulted a Trygon prime (perhaps the best assault unit in my ‘dex) and outright killed it before I even got a chance to strike back.

This really spawned a conversation of power level. Brandon was disheartened at this point in the battle as things looked a bit rough for him. I assured him that as long as he had that Bloodthirster, there was always hope. Point for point, I have a hard time finding anything in the game that can remotely deal with him. Sure, there are things that can get lucky, but he’s so awesome. Brandon made a list of things in other codecies that were quite good, but I’m not sure any of them stood up to the ‘thirster for his points cost.

Anywho, my fears about the bloodthirster confirmed, he continued on with his turn.

The Defiler made what I considered to be an odd choice, and dropped his flamer & autocannon on a nearby squad of genestealers, killing most of them and then making/failing his charge on the last couple.

This brought up the second debate/conversation of the turn. The crux was that he’d rolled enough of a charge to make it to my first genestealer, were he to charge in a straight line; however, if he were to move forward in a straight line, the large spikes on the defiler’s leg would come into contact with another genestealer who was in the way (who just managed to live through a volley of cultist fire). Brandon figured this was fine because the spikes weren’t part of the hull of the vehicle, but I’m not sure RAW say anything about hulls. Ultimately I let him make the call, and he opted for a 4+ roll (which he made), and then proceeded to dispatch with the ‘stealers. I’m guessing there’s a rules type person out there that might be able to make this call conclusively, so I’m putting it out there for y’all.

Turn 3: Hive Fleet Proteus

wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (21)I kept hunting his kill points, and tried not to worry about the greater daemon wreaking havoc around the board. To help allay my fears, I threw a squad of 10ish termagants into him, bolstered that he couldn’t escape for a turn while they were inside my 24” synapse bubble. For other charges basically ever other unit he had saw some sort of combat this turn.

My other squad of ‘gaunts made it to his cultists, my Tyrant made it behind the defiler, the Trygon made a fairly miraculous charge on his pink horrors with a charge roll of 3x 6’s (After killing quite a few off during the shooting phase). Squads of genestealers managed to charge his plague bearers and his other squad of chaos marines that were previously hiding in a rhino (the latter assisted by a carnifex).

The combats this turn ended with mixed results. The Trygon and Tyrant did amazingly well, as did—oddly enough—the ‘gaunts in combat with the Bloodthirster. They’d managed to an unsaved wound through his high WS/Toughness, armor, and FNP, while only loosing a couple of models (3?). The battles with his cultists and marines were fairly well stalemated, and I whiffed hard against his plague bearers.

Turn 3: Chaos

wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (28)With really nothing to shoot with (except a lone rhino), we made it to the assault phase almost immediately. Some of the fights ended rather predictably, including:

  • Trygon vs. 1x Pink Horror (squish)
  • 9x Plague bearers vs. 2x Genestealer (not good for our hero)
  • 1x Bloodthirster vs. 8x gaunts (in synapse)

Others didn’t work out quite as I’d thought. The combat that had started with 9 CSM fighting off five genestealers and a carnifex eventually whittled down to just the Dark Apostle duking it out toe-to-toe with a wounded monstrous creature. My other hormagaunts also did better than I’d expected and killed the cultists to a man, which took us to…

Turn 4: Hive Fleet Proteus

wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (32)My flyrant, not wanting to tangle with the Bloodthirster flew away to the other side of the building and smashed a rhino for another kill point. Nearby, the dark apostle whispered one last fail prayer before becoming more genetic material for the hive mind to make bugs out of. Nothing was really able to hurt the plague bearers, as most of my units were out of position, but I was able to dump another squad of fearless hormagaunts into the Bloodthirster to tie him up for a little while longer.

At this point, we totaled up the game, and I believe I was at 13KP to his 9kp (well, that’s including points for slay the warlord and linebreaker). At that point, it was going to be pretty remote for him to have a chance to tie it up—it would’ve required him to free his bloodthirster, the game would’ve had to go on for extended turns, and then he’d have had to chase down my warlord to kill her, plus kill something else and either prevent me from getting linebreaker or getting it himself. While it would’ve been possible, those were some pretty remote odds—especially considering he’d have to keep his plaguebearers alive as well (or score another point to balance that out).

So, at that point we called it.

What I Learned:

  1. wh39kTyranidsVBrandon (31)Formations are interesting. I wouldn’t say that the wrecker node was exceptional (though it was nice to have more targets out there for him to be afraid of), but the ‘stealers were interesting. I’d take either of those two again, and could see the stealers becoming a regular in my list (especially if troops bought as part of a formation can score—can they?)
  2. The Bloodthirster does have a weakness. Ok, not really. The only flaw this time was that Brandon didn’t take the gift that automatically gives him extra attacks if he’s outnumbered. Had he had that, I don’t think I’d have tied him up nearly as long or as successfully. Before the game, he was worried about how many MC’s I had, and figured that he was better off with some other gift instead. I think this was a mistake, as the bloodthirster would single-handedly slaughter anything in my list without blinking an eye.
  3. Super long synapse is great. Having a 24” bubble around my flyrant meant that I didn’t have to worry about synapse for basically anything in my army. Maybe giving her the norn crown and essentially guaranteeing her a 24” bubble isn’t a bad way to go. Sadly, I only think this worked because Brandon didn’t have much in the way of long range shooty or anti-flyer to ground her. She’d have died quickly had she hit the earth.







13 comments on “Batrep: Hive Fleet Proteus vs. Chaos Space Marines (1888 pts)

    • I’ll try to get some better pics next time we play. Brandon’s a frequent reader of the blog though, so hopefully he catches this and responds. He might have some sort of online repository of pics that he can share.

      On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 5:27 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


    • I do have a few pictures somewhere on my computer. I will try to remember to put them up on Flickr and link it here.

      • Cool, they’d be nice to see. I actually think the photos in this report are very good – just the right number and easy to see what’s going on – just missing a few close ups.

      • I generally take photos to use in the battle report that show me the progress of the game, so that’s why so many shots are so panoramic. I thought about it during this game, so I actually took a few “model eye view” pictures. It’s definitely something I need to do more of though.

        On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 12:42 PM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  1. Shouldn’t the Bloodthirster be one of, if not -the- best unit in the game in melee? I mean, the one that Brandon is rolling with here is around 300ish points? Can’t you put down the Swarmlord for roughly the same?

    Maybe I’m looking at it wrong, but it seems like the Swarmlord is way, way more dangerous than the Thirster in a purely combat context (but honestly, in an overall game context).

    Also, unmarked Warp Talons are balls. No grenades, and regardless of how good a model is when they hit CC, paying 30 ppm for something that’s T4 and has a 3+ save is rough. Weight of fire kills these guys. They can’t even pick up the FnP icon. That being said, I’d still play with them because the models are cool, just like possessed.

    • The first paragraph of yours threw me for a loop. I’m guessing you’re stating that he’s uber powerful, but there are other units that are comparable? If that’s the case, I certainly would leave the door open to that option, but I just couldn’t think of one. I’m at a loss to do a direct comparison because I’m not intimately familiar with what options he puts on it and there’s a good deal of randomness to the gifts (though I can confirm it’s about 300 points). I’d say that–should the Swarmlord make it to combat agains the worst Bloodthirster options, it’d probably be a relatively close fight. The ‘thirster is going to get at least 7 attacks (more if he charges, or if there are any weird gifts) that strike first due to initiative, all of which hit on 3+ and wound on 3+ (which are both better than the Swarmlord will be rolling). If any of those roll a 6 to wound, that’s instant death on the Swarmlord. Of course, if the Swarmy lives, he has 4 (or 5, if he charged) attacks that hit on 4+ and wound on 4+ that will also inflict instant death.

      I thought about doing the numbers, but I’m not smart enough. It looks like there’s a reasonable chance of an instant death on the Swarmlord (~26%), plus a further chance that he takes enough wounds to kill him outright before he gets to strike. In total, I’m guessing it’s South of 50% though, and when the Swarmlord gets to attack, he’s got high odds of killing the ‘Thirster.

      So yes, in a toe-to-toe fight, I’d say they’re likely reasonably matched. But the Swarmy has crap for survivability. He has tyrant guard, and a hope of getting Feel no Pain, plus some additional psychic defense. The bloodthirster has a ranged invulnerable save, chances of getting extra wounds, feel no pain, regeneration, and re-rolling failed invulnerable saves–not to mention the added defense (and mobility) that flight gives him.

      Frankly speaking, if you see a swarmlord across the table from you, you just shoot him down before he gets to combat. If you see a bloodthirster, you have to hit him with snapshots, get past his invulnerable save, and deal with him a whole lot quicker because he’ll be on you that much sooner.

      Honestly, if you had no rules about composition, which would you rather have in your list? I know I’d take the ‘thirster hands down.

      On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 2:40 PM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


    • Ok, I re-read it, and I think I get the first paragraph now. Are you stating, that at 300 points, it’s justifiable that it should be a fantastic unit in assault?

      My problem is I’m a big fan of balance. I know that the game isn’t perfectly balanced (like Chess), but there are too many units that are skewed way too far. IMO, a specialist assault unit that costs roughly 300 points should be about as good as other specialist assault units–or at least those from assault based armies. They should likewise have weaknesses to other units. For instance, Genestealers are supposed to be a great assault unit that can tear up infantry, but they aren’t much good against tanks and die to bolters incredibly easy. Units shouldn’t be universally good at killing everything and also be quite durable, or else you get crazy broken units–which I lump the ‘thirster in with.

      He’s better than any unit in the Tyranid codex in assault vs. almost everything (though a Swarmlord might give him a run for his money if he was stupid enough to allow it), and more durable than anything the codex, plus as fast as the fastest options, etc. Frankly, I’d say he’s better than anything that’s available in the Tyranid codex (which one might argue isn’t saying that much, but I don’t want to get into an argument about the power level of that particular book).

      What are some other units in the game that can effectively deal with a Bloodthirster at 300 points? The only things I can think of that would have the remotest of possibilities are the things that people spam in ‘Ard Boyz style lists.

      On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 2:40 PM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  2. In the nid book, things that will mess him up bad –

    Swarmlord (4++ in melee, can take bodyguards, can give himself monster hunter to re-roll to wound)
    Unit of Dakkafexes – 36 S6 shots re-rolling to hit can knock him out the air; 11 hits means 5ish wounds and two wounds through after saves. Even if he doesn’t fall out of the sky, two wounds at a flyer is pretty boss. If he does fall, you can assault him with a unit of three fexes and bury him under attacks.

    300 pts of Stealers should take him down eventually.

    And probably the most valid option:

    120 pts of gants. Feed him these. Bubble-Wrap your army so he can’t assault the important stuff. If he does land, this unit will take him out of the game for many turns, as the BT isn’t getting any re-rolls without Divination. Should hold him up for ~6 rounds of melee (or most of the game honestly).

    Other stuff in the game that can take him down in melee:

    -Tooled SM characters with eternal warrior and 3++ save
    -Avatar w/ psychic support
    -Necron Lord w/ Mindshackle Scarabs

    But honestly, this list should be tiny, and it is. He’s living embodiment of the god of war. He should be a bad-ass.

    He’s got his dude; for three hundred points I can make all kinds of units/combos that take him down with shooting. That’s what they’ve always preached in WD as Ork tactics – shoot the fighty ones and fight the shooty ones. You’ve got to get a match-up that suits your army

    All I’m saying is this – a broken unit is one that is far undercosted. With how weak melee is in this edition, a dedicated melee monster that costs 300 pts is going to get shot up so bad coming in that it’s probably going to kill one thing and then get shot off the board.

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