My general goal is to try to get in one game per month, and to date I’ve only gotten in 9 so far this year (wow, how can I possibly justify spending so much time and money on this game when I play it so infrequently?). Anywho, if I’m going to hit that goal, I’m going to have to get some more games in. Besides, I’ve been a bit productive as of late with painting, and it’d be nice to see some new units on the tabletop, so Brandon came over, and we threw down on a table full of buildings.
Ironically, I didn’t use a single newly painted unit.
Hive Fleet Proteus:
- Flyrant w/ Brainleech Worms (Catalyst & Warp Blast)
- Tervigon w/ Crushing Claws & Cluster Spines (Psychic Scream)
- 20x Hormagaunts
- 20x Hormagaunts
- 20x Hormagaunts
- 1x Mucolid
- 1x Mucolid
- 1x Mucolid
- Heavy Support:
- 1x Carnifex w/ Adrenal Glands
- 1x Carnifex w/ Adrenal Glands
This list really spawned from the aftermath of a game I played against Cole’s Necrons. After that game, he said he was confused about the point of our list and how/why we played it the way we did. He envisioned bugs being better if we ran them across with lots of little bugs and lots of big bugs behind them. Sort of the small/medium/large wave thing. We also complained that Tyranids had no way to deal with vehicles really, at which point Cole dug out the Crushing Claws rule.
So, to test the theory, I tried to make that list. I started with 60 Hormagaunts (thinking that was all I owned, though I actually have 80), and then threw in big bugs after that. Since we wanted crushing claws, I used 2x Hauraspexes (units I’ve never used before) and, since I didn’t want to be completely spammy, I threw in an Exocrine for good measure. I was lacking in synapse with just the Flyrant, so I wound up taking the Malanthropes as well, which meant I had to have another HQ (or play unbound–which still hasn’t happened… but it will!). The carnies were natural inclusions as cheap monstrous creatures and the mucolids were just throw-ins.
- Bray’arth Ashmantle
- Venerable Dread w/ Assault Cannon & H. Flamer
- Ironclad Dread w/ Heavy Flamer & Seismic Hammer in Drop Pod
- 10x Sternguard in Drop Pod w/ 2x Combi-melta, 2x Combi-Plasma, & Heavy Flamer
- 10x Tacticals w/ Melta & Multi-melta in Rhino
- 10x Tacticals w/ Grav-gun & Plasma Cannon
- 5x Scouts w/ Combi-Melta
- Fast Attack:
- Heavy Support:
- 10x Devastators w/ 4x Missile Launchers
I first want to compliment Brandon on a balanced list (not that he doesn’t play them normally). Still, there are a lot of good choices in this list, but he did wind up spamming anything. He has some long range shooty, some in your face assault stuff, ways to deal with elite units, vehicles, hordes, etc. I think it’s a good list (at one point, we debated it, and he seemed to disagree). Granted, I don’t think it’s the best list, and certainly won’t win an ‘Ard Boyz tournament (as if those still exist), but it’s competitive, and it doesn’t feel overwhelming to play against.
He brought Bray’Arth back to see if he was actually decent since he died horribly at the hands of a flyrant the first time we played. Ironclads are great choices in general, so I’ve no qualms there, but dreads are often seen as inferior choices on the internet; however, I think dreads are statistically better than most monstrous creatures in combat, and they do give some long range punch as well, so they seemed like good choices.
The one part of the list that I was most scared of was the devastator squad. Too many times, I’ve faced down 4x missiles and wound up pulling off a MC every turn…
Mission & Deployment
For the board, I told Brandon that I’d like to take a picture of the table with all of my painted buildings on it, since that was a popular request after my building series. It didn’t have to be this game, but he agreed to at least get them all down so I could take pictures. When we got it all setup, it didn’t completely cover the board, and there were some lanes of fire, so he agreed to play with it as is (perhaps somewhat reluctantly?). If you want to see pictures of the board before we put any models on it, click here.
For warlord traits, Bray’Arth comes with one where he gets extra points for killing vehicles and independent characters, so that had literally no effect on the game (unless I could trick one of his to defect to my side?). I typically roll on the tactical traits (because I’m not in love with the other lists), but this time opted to go for Strategic. Most of those would benefit me in some way, and “Conqueror of Cities” would be fantastic on that board.
I rolled up the one where I got to infiltrate three units and thought it behooved me not to re-roll for fear of being too cheesy (an entire army with 3+ cover sounded too good–though I hadn’t considered that a Malanthrope would give me a 2+ cover for anything within 6″ anyway).
For the mission, we got the ones where we fill our hands based upon the number of objectives we’re on at the time, with short table edges for deployment.
I won the roll for deployment and chose the side with the big open area, deploying everything as far forward as possible (for the most part) while infiltrating both ‘spexes and the flyrant. He setup off the line and wound up infiltrating the scouts forward a bit to deny me space to infiltrate in response.
Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus
I should probably apologize now for not having pictures up to this point. Typically I’d take pictures of the armies, deployment and each stage along the game. This helps me to recap the game for these battle reports, but also gives some lively shots of the game in action. For this particular game, I started the write-up immediately after, but didn’t actually finish it. Later, I started clearing pictures off my ipad, and realized that I might not have saved these anywhere else.
I caught myself before I’d deleted them all, but there really aren’t any pictures to speak of until turn 2. The good news is that I didn’t really do much of anything for my first turn.
In general, I moved forward with my line, and took potshots where I could. I remember the flyrant taking out a few marines behind cover, but not killing an entire squad. Otherwise, my line just surged about 7″ further on average (between moving through the terrain and run rolls).
I’m going to give myself a victory point, but I’m not 100% sure I actually earned one, since I don’t have the photos…
Score: Tyranids 1 vs. Salamanders 0
Turn 1: Salamanders
For Brandon’s turn, he spent most of it cursing my Malanthropes. Between the ruins that basically covered the entire board and their ability to grant Stealth to everyone nearby, that meant most of my army had a 2+ cover save for much of the game. Those bugs that were dumb enough not to make use of that (including my front-most hauraspex) paid the price.
For reserves, he opted to drop down his Sternguard, and between them, and the devastators, he stripped all of the wounds off that Hauraspex. The bad news is that I’d lost one of the models I was trying to gauge the effectiveness of, but on the bright side, it took most of his army to do that. I was happy losing first blood and a single real model to the carnage.
This is the part in the battle report where images start showing up, and they’re generally done in order, but I’m not seeing that he earned any victory points for that turn. I’m not sure that’s accurate though, but that’s what the photographs tell me, so we’ll just give him the one for first blood and move along…
Score: Tyranids 1 vs. Salamanders 0 +1
Turn 2: Hive Fleet Proteus
With the Exocrine and the Flyrant as my only shooting, that phase went by relatively quickly. The Hauraspex wound up shooting the sternguard to little effect, and the Flyrant unloaded a bunch of glancing hits into Bray’Arth (just like last game), only in this game the dreadnought managed to stave off most of the damage.
In assault, I made the charge with the Exocrine (instead of the Carnifex) figuring that either one would be sufficient to kill off a few marines, and the Exocrine could use the combat to keep him out of harm’s way from the missile launchers, and he had six wounds, so he should be able to tank them better than a carnie can.
I couldn’t have been more wrong though, as those krak grenades started doing a real number on his carapace. It was clear at that point, that he needed help. On the other side of the board, the other Hauraspex made it to combat with two tactical marines and (big surprise) killed them both, while healing the one wound he took during overwatch.
I completed two objectives (holidng an objective and destroying a single enemy unit), and regained the lead…
Score: Tyranids 3 vs. Salamanders 0 +1
Turn 2: Salamanders
Brandon got the rest of his reserves onto the table, and continued to use them to clog up the middle of the battlefield, thereby keeping me from advancing, and guaranteeing to slow me down for another turn.
On the left flank, my hormagaunts had snuck up to within guaranteed charge range, so he spent a lot of scout and tactical fire trying to whittle them down. With only a handful of gaunts left, he threw the scounts into a charge–forsaking a nearby objective to do so, and sadly won the combat, but didn’t kill the right gaunts, thereby allowing them to stay in synapse and hold tight.
True to form, the Sternguard eradicated another monstrous creature in combat, and then consolidated into a nice screen to keep the Ironclad safe from impact hits.
Elsewhere, Bray’Arth charged in and wasn’t quite able to destroy the Hauraspex completely due to some less than average rolling.
The one victory point that Brandon was able to obtain was from holding objective #6: which was back in the doorway to the Shrine of the Aquila. He had a veteran dreadnought with an Assault Cannon parked there for essentially the entire game because he kept drawing that objective, and nobody else was close enough to take over holding it for a turn.
Score: Tyranids 3 vs. Salamanders 1 +1
Turn 3 Hive Fleet Proteus
I didn’t care for Bray’arth on that side of the table, but there wasn’t much I could do about him. Sadly, he was in combat with the Hauraspex, so I never got to see what crushing claws do. This is because they should give me two dice per attack in combat, but Bray’Arth has a specific rule that negates that. So, the ‘spex flailed in combat hoping to smash him one hull point at a time.
With no ability to stay flying and attack Bray’Arth, my flyrant skipped over and pegged the back of the Ironclad with her devourers. He never stood a chance. It turns out that I had forgotten in my psychic phase to also use the warp lance, so maybe she could’ve done something else effective that turn. Damn, I need to keep better track of phases.
In combat, my Hauraspex didn’t stand a chance, with only one wound left. So, I wound up charging a Mucolid into the combat and detonated at S8, AP3. As luck would have it, he managed to take a hull point off Bray’Arth and failed to wound my ‘spex–who died at the hands of the enraged tin can.
Otherwise, my Tervigon and one Carnifex wound up making charges on the Sternguard and the tacticals. I did a fair bit of damage to each, but those infernal krak grenades were killing both of them. Luckily, the Carnie had feel no pain and survived the turn, but it was clear that the Tervigon was going to fall victim to the Sternguard as well, unless she got some assistance.
I wound up earning two more victory points for holding a named objective and killing a vehicle, bringing the score to 5:2.
Score: Tyranids 5 vs. Salamanders 1 +1
Turn 3: Salamanders
At this point, the biggest problem for the Salamanders was that they had strayed off the objectives to try to push the bugs back. As a result, they were only acquiring one strategic objective per turn (from the lonely venerable dread on objective 6). This severely limited the tactical options he had that could help win the game. Of course, he also had to deal with a bunch of big bugs in his face, so there was that too.
The one objective that he had that he could possibly complete was to force a failed break test. Normally, against bugs, that’s not an ideal objective, but it so happened that I had a couple of squads of termgants strung out in my backfield to hold objectives in such a way, that if he could drop a whirlwind blast in the right spot, he could potentially sever their tie to the hive mind and force them to fall back.
And that’s just what he did.
Otherwise, he was just playing clean-up the best he could. Many of his units were locked in combat, and most of those that weren’t were already committed to one strategy or another (his scouts were still clearing out ‘gaunts, Bray’Arth was alone on the side of the board that didn’t matter, etc.). There were also some new additions to the table in the form of my mucolids. While they’re not terribly expensive or quick, when they’re nearby, they’re something you are forced to deal with–because a 15pt one-shot battlecannon is always something to be afraid of.
Sadly, the nearby units were unable to destroy the spore and so he was forced to fire upon it with his Devs (who honestly didn’t have a lot of other juicy targets, as most still had a 2+ cover save).
Score: Tyranids 5 vs. Salamanders 2 +1
Turn 4 Hive Fleet Proteus
True to form, the Sternguard were plastering the Tervigon. Since she was my warlord, I didn’t want to see her fall (nor did I want to see those ten puny marines take down a third monstrous creature). To assist, I charged a Malanthrope in, and while they’re not monstrous creatures, they can at least distract the powerfist by forcing him into a challenge. Plus, they have a reasonable number of strength 5 attacks. He proved to be enough assistance, after which my warlord slinked back behind a wall of Malanthropes for cover.
Otherwise, I continued the brute-force push of monstrous creatures up the center of the table, forcing Brandon backwards. One carnifex wound up charging a rhino while another charged the drop pod–both destroying them with their impact hits alone (Mental Note: Carnies are no longer carnifeces in 7th edition–they’re still not very durable, but those impact hits really help out against vehicles).
My flyrant swooped back for a second shot at Bray’Arth (who spent most of last turn flaming hormagaunts to great effect). Normally I wind up hitting somewhere in the realm of 10+ times (which is statistically absurd, I know), but this game, she was less than stellar, hitting as low as 5 times on occasion. Still, for this round, her hits were true and she managed to turn the once proud warrior into a smoking husk.
Score: Tyranids 7 +1 vs. Salamanders 2 +1
Turn 4: Salamanders
There weren’t a lot of things going right at this point, but he wasn’t far behind, but Brandon stuck it out. One way he thought he might ‘eek out a victory was to sneak his scouts into my deployment zone to earn linebreaker. Another strategy he briefly considered was to run up and take a heroic pot-shot at my warlord with his combi-melta, but alas, she had two wounds on her.
He did take a few shots at her in an attempt to steal that victory point, but to no avail.
Score: Tyranids 5 +1 vs. Salamanders 3 +1
Turn 5 Hive Fleet Proteus
At this point my Flyrant found herself on the far side of the board, thinning out herds of tactical marines, and ensuring that pocket of three scouts wouldn’t survive to have linebreaker. Otherwise, it was pretty much a mop-up operation for me.
One thing that worked out nicely was that I had a carnifex actually make a 9″ charge through difficult terrain (rolled an 11), and tied up a combat squad of tactical marines. He wasn’t very successful in the actual combat, and only managed to kill a marine or two, but they wouldn’t stand a chance against him in later turns. Sure, he had a dreadnought nearby, but I’d already feasted upon a couple of those this game…
Score: Tyranids 5 +1 vs. Salamanders 3 +1
Turn 5: Salamanders
The picture at the left is probably all I need to say in response to the last statement. Somehow, the dread, through combination of a hammer of wrath attack, some powerfists, and a lucky tactical krak grenade punked my carnifex before he even had a chance to strike back. Sadly, this was about the last act of defiance, and the game wound up ending at this point.
At least he got a morale victory, eh?
Score: Tyranids 6+2 vs. Salamanders 4 +1
The score doesn’t line up precisely. With the missing photos, I can’t be sure what the exact final score was, but it did turn out to be relatively close at the end. I did wind up pulling ahead in the middle of the game, but Brandon surged back to almost catch up by the end. So, while the scores aren’t exact, it does give a good representation of the overall feel of the game.
This week, much of my “learning” has to do with my opponent’s army and not so much my own. Could that possibly mean that I’m actually learning how to play my force? Nah, I’m probably just ignoring obvious problems…
- Pay attention to the details. This is one of those things I “learn” on a frequent basis. During the game, Brandon and I both missed entire phases of the game (oops, I didn’t do my psychics!). We’re in a friendly game, so we let each other slip on it, but it’s something we should be more cognizant of.
- Infiltrating is tricky. The idea of infiltrating a flyrant or a ‘spex sounds great, but it’s difficult to pull off. Brandon had left a great spot for me to infiltrate a unit into, but all of the units I did chose were far too big. Perhaps I should’ve chosen to infiltrate a carnifex instead?
- Carnifexes are good–if they can get to combat. I guess this is all relative, as sometimes they did great and sometimes they did poorly. In general, they did good against vehicles, but not fantastically against other units. This is due, in large part to their high strength/impact hits, plus…
- Krak Grenades are Great – Sure, Carnies are good, but the fact that every marine is wounding them on a 4+, means they don’t live long. Especially against Stenguard w/ 2x Attacks a piece. I guess I would know this if I ever played my marines…
- 2 Squads, 1 Cart. Did you know that you can deploy two separate combat squads into a rhino now? I’m sure that’s been around for a while, but it’s news to me. I knew you could do it with drop pods, but not with rhinos–interesting trick.
- Ipads take good photos. It’s a little weird to document a game with an ipad, but it turned out to be easier to keep the flow of the documentation going without having to constantly search for a camera. I might make this the standard from here on out.