Batrep: Hive Fleet Proteus vs. Chaos Space Marines (1850 pts)

This week for Game Night, everyone seemed to cancel on me.  Some of the regulars that are dependable wound up having other plans, and two others who said they’d come wound up cancelling, while seemingly nobody else was destined to show.  Just when I thought I was going to spend the night painting up Carnifexen, along came Andrew.

Andrew used to run the local gaming scene (well, practically).  He was in charge of the gaming club that lasted years, and where I spent every Friday night.  He changed jobs and that club dried up–which, is why I started having a regular game out at my place.  Anywho, ‘drew makes it out to my place about once per year, but this is the first time he actually got to play a game.  We were both a bit rusty as well (him moreso than I, as it had been several month since he got a game in, and I got a few in during the month of December).

Our Battle: Chaos vs. Bugs.

Hive Fleet Proteus:

  • 1850BugsVAndrew (1)HQ:
    • Tervigon w/ Crushing Claws & Adrenal Glands (Catalyst)
  • Elites:
    • 2x Zoanthropes (Warp Blast & Paroxysm)
    • 2x Zoanthropes (Warp Blast & Onslaught)
    • 2x Venomthropes
  • Troops:
    • 5x Genestealers inc. Broodlord w/ Scything Talons
    • 5x Genestealers inc. Broodlord w/ Scything Talons
    • 15x Hormagaunts
    • 15x Hormagaunts
    • 1x Mucolid Spore
    • 1x Mucolid Spore
  • Fast Attack:
    • 5x Spore Mines
    • 5x Spore Mines
    • 4x Spore Mines

    Heavy Support:

    • 1x Carnifex w/ Scything Talons & Adrenal Glands
    • 1x Carnifex w/ Scything Talons & Adrenal Glands
    • 1x Tyrannofex
  • Formation (Skytyrant Swarm):
    • Flyrant w/ twin-linked Devourer & Scything Talons (Warp Blast & Paroxysm)
    • 10x Gargoyles
    • 10x Gargoyles

I think I might have cheated in the game.  My list only has 2x Mucolids, but I did field three in the game–more to come on that later, but I don’t know that it would’ve made much of a difference in the outcome.

Anywho, for composition, I wanted to pull out the things that I typically use as a crutch: Dakka-Flyrants & Malanthropes and go with something a little more basic.  That way I can’t be accused of using the same units every time.  I’ve also been toying with the idea of using a Skytyrant Swarm, since it seems like a great way to get an assault Tyrant across the board and into combat, so I started there.  For HQ, I needed something and the only other halfway decent choice seems to be the Tervigon, so I went with her.  Next I went to troops and started with Genestealers (they’ve fallen out of favor with me as of late), and then added Hormies, because they do a good job of moving fast and tying things up. Then, on to Carnies (still off to prove them good, after buying six extras >.<).

I was running low on points and had no synapse (classic dilemma), so in went the Zoanthropes, and two Venomthropes to do their best impression of a Malanthrope.  I then picked up a Tyrannofex and that just about ate up all of my points.  To round things out, I took the Mucolids and spore mines.

Andrew’s Chaos Space Marines:

  • 1850BugsVAndrew (2)HQ:
    • Kharn the Betrayer
  • Troops:
    • 9x Berzerkers w/ plasma pistol, power fist, gift, & melta bombs
    • 10x Chaos Space Marines w/ 2x Plasma Gun, Plasma Pistol, Powerfist, Mark of Khorne in Chaos Rhino w/ Havoc Launcher & Warpflame Gargoyles
    • 10x Chaos Space Marines w/ 2x Plasma Gun, Plasma Pistol, Powerfist, Mark of Khorne in Chaos Rhino w/ Havoc Launcher & Warpflame Gargoyles
  • Fast Attack:
    • Helldrake
  • Heavy Support:
    • 3x Obliterators w/ Mark of Nurgle
    • 3x Obliterators w/ Mark of Nurgle
    • Chaos Land Raider w/ Dirge Caster & Warpflame Gargoyles

Mission & Deployment:

1850BugsVAndrew (3)Andrew’s army was already made for some minor tournament, so while I made my force, he setup terrain.  I gave him access to everything, but he said he liked the idea of a sparse, open environment (which didn’t please me terribly as an assault-based force, but I noticed he had brought Khorne marines, so it wasn’t like he was gaming the system either).  For missions, he didn’t have any strategic asset cards, so we went with a classic style mission.  I forget what it’s called, but it was the one where the objectives are worth varying amounts and they’re deployed face down so you don’t know what you’re going after.

He won the die for deployment and deferred to me to setup/take the first turn.  We were deploying via long table edges, and I opted to push the front line as best I could, trying to keep the big bugs in some sort of cover.  For my warlord trait, I got to infiltrate three units onto the board, and opted to go with the flyrant and um… I think I might have just done the Flyrant.

1850BugsVAndrew (6)Maybe my thought process was that the Genestealers counted against that limit (which is obvious wrong, since they can already infiltrate), or maybe I was thinking that the flyrant and two squads of gargoyles counted?  Whatever the case, I don’t seem to have infiltrated more than them and the ‘stealers.  Obviously, my spores all held in reserve.

‘Drew wound up deploying most things outside of tanks, preferring to use them as mobile cover.  The obliterators hung out together in a building on my right flank, and the other units spread out in firing positions across the board.  Only now does it occur to me how peculiar it is to see khornate marines in firing positions…

With that in mind, I was going to try to avoid the obliterators with much of my force, and focus on the left flank.  Hopefully I could crush that, and then fold in towards the right flank.  At least that was the strategy…

Andrew failed to seize the initiative and I was off to the races:

Turn 1: Tyranids

1850BugsVAndrew (8)My first turn was relatively uneventful.  As I had a fair number of infiltrators, they were not allowed to make a first turn charge, so I flapped them forward and took a single pot shot.  Between my warp blast and my single devourer, I managed to strip a single hull point off a nearby rhino and shook it, but left the “first blood” prize for Andrew to claim.

Otherwise, it was just a matter of surging my line forward and trying to keep what I could in cover, behind the initial wall of gargoyles, and/or near the Venomthropes to keep some sort of durability for my forces.

Turn 1: Chaos

1850BugsVAndrew (10)Andrew focused his fire on the Gargoyles by first tank shocking them away from my Flyrant, and then then peppering them with fire to ensure Kharne could charge into combat with her.  Sadly, he forgot to disembark during the movement phase and, though I said he could take it back, he opted not to.  I guess he’s of the mindset that “the burned hand teaches best,” and that’s how he’ll learn to remember to play correctly in the future.  In hindsight, I’m not sure charging her with Kharne would’ve been his best move.  He’d have to challenge me and I’d have initiative.  Well, I guess he’d most likely live through it (unless I chose to smash and rolled reasonably well).  Kharne’s lack of an invulnerable save and Eternal Warrior could’ve done him in there.

Anywho, the rest of his army shot volleys of projectiles into the gargoyles, who–between their proximity to the Venomthropes and the Feel No Pain I’d given them in the psychic phase–were relatively hardy.  Besides my birdies, I think he only managed to kill a single genestealer that turn, and somehow passed the objective of “First Blood” back to me…

Turn 2: Tyranids

1850BugsVAndrew (13)This was the turn that I managed to hit combat.  My Flyrant didn’t like her odds of standing up against Kharne and his angry friends by herself, so she hopped to the left to take on some Chaos marines holed up in a ruin.  Between her and her birdies, she managed to do a few wounds, but I think they wound up losing the combat.

On the other flank, I also managed to make combat with some genestealers into the other squad of CSM, and I also managed to lose that particular combat (they’d last for a few turns without rolling a single rend between three ‘stealers and a broodlord).

Thank heavens for Synapse, right?

My reserves came in with relative success, having almost all of them hit exactly where I wanted and threaten to charge his marines with a bunch of spore mines next turn.  One deviated slightly into the open, and another pod of spores misshaped into the far corner of the board where they were assured to do nothing for the rest of the game.

Otherwise, I think the only damage I did was a lucky potshot from a Zoanthrope cracking open the land raider and immobilizing it (at least I think this happened on turn 2–but that might have been a T3 happening.

One thing I didn’t do was score First Blood.  I even wound up charging my Zoanthropes at his rhino to do it, but whiffed with a catastrophic 4x 1’s on my attacks.  With that roll, you’d think that they weren’t dedicated assault troops or something?

Turn 2: Chaos

1850BugsVAndrew (17)The hellchicken came onto the board, but didn’t have a lot of great targets to fire at.  He wound up vector striking away the straying mucolid spore.  I’m not sure it was a great strategic move, but it wasn’t bad.  The problem was that I wasn’t close enough to his board edge to give him much in the way of good targets.  He originally wanted to hit my Flyrant, but she was locked in combat with his marines still, so that invalidated that choice.  The Mucolid posed a threat of a guided S8 AP3 large blast and was very easy to kill with the vector strike.   It’s flamer, on the other hand, rocked a bunch of hormagaunts.

Otherwise, he disembarked Kharne and his buddies and tried to charge into the Flyrant, but failed.  It was either that, or charge a nearby unit of ‘gaunts, and he really wanted to unleash Kharne on something formidable.

It looked like First Blood was going to somehow have to wait until the third turn, but a lucky round of combat saw my genestealers score two extra wounds on his marines and they broke and were promptly run down.

Turn 3: Tyranids

1850BugsVAndrew (20)In my turn, the rest of my spores came on (including the dreaded “cheater spore”), though most of them wound up doing very little.  The spores were pretty accurate with where they descended, but the problem was that by the point where they were ready to charge into the enemy, so were the rest of my models.  And my models die far more easily to large blasts with bad AP than the marines do.

Both Zoanthrope units charged up and nuked the landraider, though one brain bug had a perils and suffered an major aneurism in the process: disappearing from the table completely.

I wound up charging a rhino with my warlord and it didn’t stand a chance against the crushing claws.  Elsewhere, I did a large multi-assault with both squads of ‘gaunts against Kharne and his boys and did surprisingly well.  Apparently Kharne likes to eat monstrous creatures, but he and the ‘zerkers didn’t hold up all that well to a crap-ton of attacks.  To be fair, that was almost 30 hormagaunts charging in with somewhere north of 60-70 attacks, so I’m going to do some amount of damage, right?

The only other assault I had was to charge a unit of Obliterators after successfully pinning the other (go Broodlords!).

Turn 3: Chaos

1850BugsVAndrew (22)The Helldrake found itself in a bad position, with not much else to attack.  So, it hopped over a Zoanthrope and punked him for a single wound.  Otherwise, Andrew was pretty much locked in combat around the board, so turns started going pretty quickly at this point.

The obliterators were doing a number on my genestealers, even with the Broodlord tanking, so I was going to be forced to charge in my monstrous creatures in future turns.  Kharne dutifully smote 4-5 gaunts per turn, and his boys took out a couple of more, but sheer numbers were helping me to whittle them down.

Turn 4: Tyranids

1850BugsVAndrew (23)As stated, my monstrous creatures charged into one unit of Obliterators (which proved too much for the Chaos forces to handle), while the Zoanthropes fired lances through the window, thinning out the other squad.

My Flyrant was freed up from her comment in an earlier turn with the help of a stray Carnifex, so she chased the helldrake in a cinematic shot (at right), but ultimately didn’t manage to do any damage.  She would spend the next turn hopping out of the way of the Helldrake’s claws when it was due to come into the game after ongoing reserves.

Otherwise, it was more slogging in combat.  With the first squad of Obliterators down, I wound up charging the other and dispatching them rather nicely (or maybe that actually happened on turn 5?)  I also spawned a new set of gaunts knowing that the hormagaunts were just not going to be enough to hold Kharn in place for the rest of the game.  He was simply killing me faster than I could return the favor…

Turn 4: Chaos

1850BugsVAndrew (24)True to form, Kharn (I just noticed that I routinely put an “e” on the end of that name in homage to his ‘patron saint’)…  Anywho, Kharn was slaughtering tiny bugs, but for the 150 points I put into those two squads, they were well worth the investment.  Heck, that’s about the point total for his Warlord, let alone his squad.

The helldrake, having nothing juicy to attack on that side of the board, and being unable to even shoot at the Flyrant without landing (and thereby signing it’s own death warrant) flew off the table into ongoing reserves.

The obliterators, if they existed at all at this point, had very little effect.  They spent the previous few turns taking pot shots at my warlord, who shrugged off some hits with Feel no Pain, but mostly survived based upon Andrew’s bad dice rolls.

I’m surprised that I hadn’t mentioned this earlier.  Drew had some pretty atrocious rolls all night.  He had four models armed with plasma guns in his army and during the course of the game, three of them killed themselves.  He also pretty consistently would fail more than 33% of his marine armor saves–not in the 80% range, but pushing 50% probably.  As a whole, his dice just weren’t happy with him.

Turn 5: Tyranids

1850BugsVAndrew (26)So, at this point the only thing I really had to deal with was Kharn and his lone champion, who were down to fighting three ‘gaunts in combat.  Clearly, he was going to win that, but both of his models had just one wound left, so that’s when Mr. Mucolid came charging in and ended the game.  Sure, he took out the gaunts with him, but that was a small price to pay for wiping off one of the most savage killers in the Universe.

With the helldrake off the board, he wasn’t truly tabled, but he wasn’t able to bring it back on with no more surviving models left on the table.

What I learned:

Well, I’m not sure there’s anything terribly unusual here, but let’s go with what I can:

  1. Andrew is alive.  It was good to see him, and I hope he comes out a little more often than once per year in the future.  The gaming scene around here doesn’t lend itself to a lot of varied places to play, so it sounds like he’s not getting many games in.  Hopefully he enjoyed himself enough that I see him again before he flies away to Hawaii for the Summer.
  2. The Skytyrant Swarm formation is quite good.  Not having to waste at turn flipping between flying and gliding makes an assault flyrant actually doable, and the cost to do so is to buy a couple of squads of a unit that I already like tremendously.  There’s really no downside to this formation.  It also let me infiltrate the entire force for (given my Warlord Trait) and extend Feel No Pain across what is essentially multiple units.
  3. Tyranids don’t have to rely on their crutches all of the time.  Granted, I knew this already–which is why I vary things up all of the time, but I do seem to come back often to a few choice units.  One unit that I haven’t played enough of recently has been raveners.  I remember thinking that as I put my models on the table.  I’m going to have to correct that soon.

3 comments on “Batrep: Hive Fleet Proteus vs. Chaos Space Marines (1850 pts)

  1. Two great looking armies and a fun read. I’m always interested to see how CSM do for other people and it seems Andrew had about as much luck as I have had the last 15 games I’ve played.

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