Batrep: Ultramarines vs. Word Bearers (1625pts) – Highlander

So it’s been entirely too long since I’ve played a normal game of 40k (July 14th was the last game for those who are wondering), so Brandon was able to escape the rigors of parenting for a Friday night and we threw down.

Brandon’s a huge fan of 40k podcasts (not that I’m not, mind you, but they’ve just fallen out of favor with me as of late).  Anywho, in a couple of the podcasts he listens to, they talked about a “highlander” format where you’re allowed no more than one of each unit in your codex (with some exceptions allowed for troops choices).  I’m always game to mix things up a bit, so we agreed to a 1625 point game (since Brandon knows I like to pick seemingly random point values).

Brandon’s Word Bearers:

Brandon showed up with two armies this week: Chaos & Tau.  He said that he suspected I’d be playing my marines with Tyranids being gimped even more in a highlander format, and he didn’t want to play paintball.  I’m not sure what was the deciding factor, but he did ultimately go with his Chaos…

  • wh39kUltraIGDemons (2)HQ:
    • Daemon Prince w/ Axe of Blind Fury, Gift of Mutation, Wings, Power Armor, & Daemon of Khorne
    • Chaos Sorcerer w/ Sigil of Corruption, Spell Familiar, Gift of Mutation
  • Elites:
    • Hellbrute w/ Plasma & Powerfist
  • Troops:
    • 15x CSM w/ Veterans of the Long war, Icon of Vengeance, & 2x Plasma inc.
    • 10x CSM w. Veterans of the Long War, & 2x Melta in Rhino w/ Dozer Blade & Dirge Caster
    • 16x Cultists w/ Autopistols inc. Champion
  • Fast Attack:
    • 5x Warp Talons w/ Veterans of the Long war
  • Heavy Support:
    • Defiler w/ Dirgecaster & Warpflame Gargoyles
    • Chaos Predator w/ Combi-bolter, Havoc Launcher, Warpflame Gargoyles & Sponson H. Bolters

When Brandon suggested a highlander list, I didn’t think about what it is he normally runs.  Realistically, I don’t see him run that much different than this in an average game.  I could’ve sworn he had a second rhino, but he assures me that he doesn’t.  In fact, the only things I think he has other than this are a Bloodthirster, another squad of cultists, and another hellbrute.  The only one of those he couldn’t run in this format would be the hellbrute.

Well, he does have some daemons he could throw in the list as well.  All in all, maybe I got bamboozled by the idea of highlander (not that I would mind, nor do I honestly think that was his intent).  It’s good to mix things up now and again…

The Forces of Ultramar:

  • wh39kUltraIGDemons (1)HQ:
    • Chief Librarian Tigurius
    • (Allies) 6x IG Command Squad inc. Lascannon & Master of Ordnance
  • Elites:
    • Dreadnought w/ twin-linked Lascannon & Heayy Flamer
  • Troops:
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Lascannon & Plasmagun
    • 5x Scouts w/ CCWs, inc. Sarge w/ Powerfist & Combi-melta in Landspeeder Storm w/ Flamer
    • (Allies) IG Platoon
      • 5x Command Squad w/ Lascannon
      • 10x IG w/ Lascannon
      • 10x IG w/ Lascannon
      • 3x Heavy weapon teams w/ Autocannons
      • 3x Heavy weapon teams w/ Autocannons
      • 3x Heavy weapon teams w/ Autocannons
  • Fast Attack:
    • 1x Attack Bike w/ multi-melta
  • Heavy Support:
    • 10x Devastators w/ 2x Lascannons & 2x Missiles
    • Techmarine w/ Thunderfire Cannon
  • Fortifications:
    • Bastion w/ Icarus Lascannon & 2x Barricades

I started the list with Tigurius (because I’m not sure that I’ve ever played him–at least not for a long time), and then promptly ignored him for the purposes of value.  He’s supposed to be a force multiplier, but I didn’t give him a single decent unit to work with.  I started adding the other marines that I normally use, but stopped short of adding terminators or an Ironclad (for fear that I take them too much).  Sadly, I don’t have much in the way of painted marine vehicles (Landraider, Rhinos, Drop Pod, & Speeders), so I found myself lacking there.

With nothing better to add, I decided to take some IG allies (although I also noted that I was severely lacking in vehicles for them as well).  Oh well, perhaps by taking a bunch of long range shooting, I could keep him at bay?

Mission & Deployment:

wh39kUltraIGDemons (4)Sadly, this game was played a couple of weeks ago, and while I took photos of the process, and it’s still relatively fresh in my mind, I don’t remember all of the precise details.  For mission, we rolled randomly in the book and got the one where our objectives were obscured from each other.  We diced off for deployment and rolled up the short table edges, and I took the side with the Shrine of the Aquila (for the firing vantage point, of course), but he won the deployment/first turn roll.

He deployed first and I reacted trying to keep the fire lanes as clear as possible, to which I was marginally successful.  I wound up blobbing up my guard because that’s what people do with guard, right?  Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about it when I did it, and it was my first time really playing with IG since the days of 2nd edition (aside from an occasional Apoc game).  I tried to seize the initiative and failed, so Brandon took the first turn.

Turn 1: WordBearers

wh39kUltraIGDemons (7)Not that it was an overly eventful first turn, mind you, but he did go first.  He wound up moving away from one objective in the back corner of his side, much to my dismay.  I would later find out that I had the card which I scored on if all of the objectives were discovered, and he was ignoring this one on purpose!!  I’d have to throw that away on my turn.  Drat…

Anywho, the rest of his army plodded forward and he took some pot shots at my units.  His shooting wasn’t very effective, but then again, he didn’t have all that many guns.  The one that he did have that was worth firing (the Defiler) forewent shooting so that he could advance faster.

In the psychic phase, his sorcerer opened up with an ill-fated perils and wound up both suffering a wound and losing a power (a shooting attack that he wasn’t very fond of anyway).  Starting with one less power wasn’t a big deal, but already down to one wound was a little rough.

He did manage to score a single objective on his side though, so that at least earned him a victory point.

Score: WordBearers 1 to Ultramarines 0

Turn 1: Ultramarines

wh39kUltraIGDemons (5)The warp was particularly powerful this game, and I too, wound up opening up with a perils on Tigurius.  He also wound up losing a wound, and a power, but instead of losing one of the bad ones, he lost his primarus: Prescience.  (For the record, I think this might be my first game using Divination as well.  I considered using Sanctus–because I was fighting demons, but decided to go with divination exclusively–which might have been a mistake).

My shooting turned out to be a little more fruitful though, and I at least popped a rhino to earn first blood.  Along with that, I was able to pepper a few wounds here and there to various other units and was generally able to keep them far enough away that the hopefully wouldn’t be able to charge in the following turn.

For objectives, I was able to score one of mine, but the others were basically unobtainable, so I would spend two turns discarding them.

Score: WordBearers 1 to Ultramarines 1 +1

Turn 2: WordBearers

wh39kUltraIGDemons (10)He continued his advance towards my line and took various pot shots at my guys, doing relatively little damage overall.  His one attempt at a charge was thwarted by two autocannon shells from particularly plucky guardsmen, pulling him just barely out of range for the assault.  On the right half of the board, his demon prince landed, and I would wind up ignoring him completely (thinking–incorrectly, I might add–that he was going to charge things on that flank, and forgetting that he had the power to leap over buildings in a single bound and be on top the rest of my force).

For psychic powers, there was some debate about what the right play was.  Since he was down to 1 wound on his psyker, the odds of rolling a perils was incredibly high (because he was using demonology so *any* double would result in a perils).  To further complicate things, the only decent spells he had left were summoning spells that each required three warp charge, so it almost forced him to roll all of the dice or none of them.

He threw caution to the wind, and successfully summoned a pack of beasts of Nurgle (which are amazingly resilient for summoning targets, if I might add).  He didn’t have the models with him (in fact, I don’t think he even owns the models), but we’re a pretty lax group, so it didn’t seem like a big deal to let him proxy them.  By the way, after seeing them in action, I suspect that he’ll probably go out and buy some in the near future…

As luck would have it, he did perils, but managed to roll a result that allowed him to live for another turn.

He did manage to score another objective during his turn, tying the game at 2.

Score: WordBearers 2 to Ultramarines 1 +1

Turn 2: Ultramarines

wh39kUltraIGDemons (11)After discarding one worthless objective, and drawing another to replace it, I was resigned to just beating up my opponent.  To be fair, one of my objectives wasn’t completely unobtainable–it involved going to the far side of the board, and I did have two fast moving “vehicles” (the storm and an attack bike) that could theoretically do it.  They just weren’t going to be able to without significantly thinning out the advancing horde.

So I set about to do just that.  The attack bike managed to squeak out a lucky explosion roll on the Defiler, taking out my biggest fear of the game.  Otherwise, I was just plinking shots into whatever was closest, to deny some charges.  For the most part, I was relatively successful (for everything except that darned demon prince), but I wasn’t really pushing him back any, just thinning out some chaff on the front lines.

In the meantime, I had units that were actively dying to warp flame (I know, right?  Who dies to warp flame?  Well, apparently, IG do).  Brandon had outfitted most of his vehicles with the option for soul blaze simply because he knew that I had made pink buttons for that purpose.

Score: WordBearers 2 to Ultramarines 1 +1

Turn 3: WordBearers

wh39kUltraIGDemons (17)This was the turn where he finally hit my line.  He managed to charge in with the Prince into my blog squad and Tigirius, challenging away all of those characters that were lining up to die to the unholy one so that Tigirius could live (For the Emperor!).  In other news, his sorcer managed to pull off the impossible for a second time, summoning another batch of beasts of Nurgle and managing to live through another perils–he was really showing Tiggy how psychics are done.

The prince managed to lop off the head of one IG slob, but thanks to Tiggy’s ATSKNF, they were stuck in combat until the bitter end.

Score: WordBearers 4 to Ultramarines 1 +1

Turn 3: Ultramarines

wh39kUltraIGDemons (16)With another bad draw for objectives, it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to just hunker down and win this game: I was going to have to take the fight to the far end of the table, the problem was that he did manage to get a small squad into my deployment zone, and it was sure to wreak havoc amongst my unarmored troops.  So, I managed to jet my storm up ahead and between it and the contingent of scouts, we wiped the chaos vermin from the planet.

Of course, Brandon then reminded me that I only managed to kill three normal CSM marines with it, but I wasn’t going to let him take that from me.

Elsewhere, my attack bike went up the far flank to try to grab some of the remote objectives.

Tigurius also went on a rampage, powering up all sorts of abilities to make him a monster in combat, and was successful in rolling everything except I failed to activate the power “Force.”  Needing only one success (well, before Brandon’s dispel attempt), I couldn’t muster it on four dice–even with a re-roll.  How terrible is that?  So, in combat, Tigurius managed to stay out of the path of destruction, but wasn’t able to do anything to the prince in retaliation…

Score: WordBearers 4 to Ultramarines 1 +1

Turn 4: WordBearers

Brandon’s turns were coming quicker at this point, as he was running low on units.  Since I only managed to scratch his predator, he fired off a volley of shots which was enough to not only kill the storm, but made it explode in a full six inches taking all but one scout with it, and much of my IG command squad.  Likewise, on the far end of the board, a lucky shot from a cultist managed to send the attack bike crashing into the ground.

Between this, and the eventual demise of everything to the Demon prince, I wound up crying No Joy and throwing in the towel.  Yes, I know better than to give up before it was over, but he was already at 6 to 2, and the gap only seemed to be widening.  Plus, it was already relatively late and I wanted to get some sleep (though, truth be told, I think we hung out for another 2 hours after just chatting things up).

The final score?

Score: WordBearers 6 to Ultramarines 1 +1


What I Learned:

It took a bit of thinking on this one.  My first thought was that a lot of my loss came down to just dumb luck–but after digging a bit, there’s always more to learn than that:

  1. Know your characters.  I literally included Tigurius simply because I haven’t used him in a long time (or maybe ever–since the blog started at least).  Sadly, he’s a great force multiplier, but I just didn’t have the forces to multiply.
  2. I should paint more.  Highlander was fun, but I was severely limited when combined with my refusal to play unpainted models.  I have two fully painted tanks and they’re both rhinos.  Most of what I do have painted, I have multiple copies of (tactical squads, drop pods, dreads, devs, scouts, techmarines, thunderfires, etc.)  I should work on diversifying a bit more.
  3. Not all of divination is good.  I guess there was one point where the spells I had were decent (while he was in combat with the prince), but most of them were fairly worthless throughout the game.  I almost would’ve been better to take Sanctic.
  4. I forgot that you need to move in the new edition.  I built a static gunline army without much mobility.  As a result, I was confined to the three objectives I had.  So yeah, it was dumb luck that I didn’t draw the objectives on my side, but that could’ve been neutralized through army selection.
  5. I should have some sort of counter-assault in my army.  This is pretty rookie: I almost always have an assault squad or terminators, or something that can deal with a giant uber unit–but not this game.  I did have the scouts and sort of used them that way, but they would’ve been better suited to forward objective grabbing.
  6. I should read more about both armies.  In one game I played my first game with the “new” space marine codex and the IG book–not to mention, this was the first time I’ve played IG in a standard game since 2nd edition >.<

7 comments on “Batrep: Ultramarines vs. Word Bearers (1625pts) – Highlander

  1. Two good-looking armies – very nice! Been jonesing for some 40k again lately; been playing lots of Fantasy and Dropzone Commander.

    Looks like a fun game though – I agree for the most part with your tactical assessment Rob – just something to keep in mind if you did take a counter assault unit is that (I believe) you can disembark from a building and still assault on the same turn; so hiding them in the bastion could be pretty B-A.

    Brandon – what? Why didn’t you want to D/S those Warp-Talons for potential Blind? 😛

    • I wasn’t aware that you can disembark from a building and charge. Not that I use a lot of buildings, but that is a really nice tip to know. Of course, if I was planning on using that, I should’ve deployed the building differently. Thanks for the tip!

      You’re welcome to come out and play any weekend–assuming you can get away from the ball and chain.

      On Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 10:10 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


    • Honestly, that rule is so bad I completely forgot they even had it. Warp talons in general just never seem to do anything, but they sure look cool.

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