Batrep: Ultramarines vs. Salamanders (1800pts)

With Labor Day being a long weekend, we somehow managed to get two games in.  Since I normally average about a game per month, sneaking two in the span of four days is quite an accomplishment.  Since we started early, we were able to play a larger than normal battle, but Brandon didn’t want to spend all day playing, so we capped it at 1800 points.

Ultramarines Forces

In the last game, Brandon walked away telling me that he was going to play his Deredeo next time to kill off my flyrant, so I opted to go without her (or bugs altogether).  This list, like most, started off completely differently, as I initially wanted to use a Decurion detachment.  In fact, the last game I wanted to use one, but I put it off because it meant learning something new and I didn’t want to delay the game by doing so.  For this game, I had plenty of time leading up to it and started off filling it up with infantry: 40+ marines, 30+ scouts, 3 librarians, etc…

But I really didn’t like the way it was heading.  I liked having 30 scouts, but I felt I needed more landspeeder storms for it to work, and I just had too few overall vehicles, so that the few that I did add were just victims.  So I scrapped it all and started over.

  • Wh39kUltraSala1800 (1)HQ:
    • Terminator Librarian w/ Force Staff, Storm Shield & Auspex (Prescience, Misfortune, Precognition)
  • Elites:
    • Ironclad Dread w/ Heavy Flamer & Hunter Killer in Pod w/ Deathwind Launcher
  • Troops:
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Lascannon & Plasma gun
    • 5x Scouts w/ Bolt Pistol & CCW, inc. Vet Sarge w/ Powerfist and combi-melta in Landspeeder Storm w/ H. Flamer
  • Fast Attack:
    • 1x Attack Bike w/ Multi-melta
    • 1x Attack Bike w/ Multi-melta
  • Heavy Support:
    • 3x Centurians w/ Hurricane Bolters & Grav Amps inc. Sarge w/ omniscope
    • Whirlwind
  • Skyhammer Annihilation Force:
    • 5x Assault Marines inc. Vet Sarge w/ Power Axe
    • 5x Assault Marines inc. 2x Plasma Pistols
    • 10x Devastator Marines w/ 4x Missile Launchers
    • 10x Devastator Marines w/ 2x Multi-meltas & 2x Heavy Plasma

My next thought was to try out the Skyhammer force, for the ultimate in alpha strike, but I didn’t have two full assault squads.  Well, it turns out that you don’t need them, so I opted to go that route.  Then I started adding some of my usual suspects, and came up with the list you see above.  By the time I’d finished it, it was almost 2am the day before our 9am game.  It wasn’t until the next day when I discovered that the list seemed unusually rough to me.

Let me go on record saying that the Skyhammer force doesn’t look cheesy to me.  Yes, it’s bound to be good, but in the end, you’re still paying for assault marines and potentially out of place devastators.  There’s no doubt it’s good, but I just don’t think it’ll be the be-all, end-all.  The rest of the stuff in the army is all pretty solid though.   I’m sure some would argue against the scouts and storm, but they seem to do well in the

Brandon’s Salamanders:

Brandon actually made two lists for the game (one with a Deredeo and one without).  The one that he ultimately decided on playing was a Decurion Detachment (I’m not sure he’d ever used one before either), so it was a little heavy on the heavies, but otherwise, seemed like a normal list:

  • Wh39kUltraSala1800 (2)HQ:
    • Vulkan He’Stan
    • Techmarine w/ Servo Harness
  • Elites:
    • Venerable Dread w/ Multimelta in Pod
  • Troops:
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Meltagun, Multi-melta, Meltabombs, & Combi-flamer in Rhino w/ Storm Bolter
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Meltagun, Multi-melta, Meltabombs, & Combi-flamer in Rhino w/ Storm Bolter
    • 10x Tactical marines w/ Flamer, Multi-melta, Meltabombs, & Combi-Flamer in Drop Pod
  • Fast Attack:
    • 10x Assault Marines w/ 2x Flamer inc. Vet Sarge w/ Thunderhammer
  • Heavy Support:
    • Vindicator w/ Dozer blade
    • Vindicator w/ Dozer blade
    • Whirlwind
    • 3x Devastator Centurions w/ Grav-Amps & Hurricane Bolters

Like I said, he managed to get the equivalent of 4x heavy supports, but it’s by no means a min/max list.  Everything else is pretty standard for a Brandon force, including lots of flamers and melta weapons (which are very thematic) and tons of sarges with combi-weapons (and why not, since they all get a free master crafted weapon?)

Mission & Deployment:

The mission was the one where we each gain “up to three” strategic asset cards per turn and we deploy in board corners.  I won the roll and opted to set up in the corner that left him with less cover on his side of the board (not that it was a big difference, mind you: the board had been set up pretty well covered in forests that were evenly dispersed around the table).

Since I deployed first, I opted to put my tactical marines where they had clear lines of fire, and hid my attack bikes and centurions as best I could near the center of the board where they could potentially make use of their short range.  The whirlwind went into my backfield where it could hide and still get good lines to the rest of the board.

Brandon deployed his vindicators together on his flank (to make use of the formation’s ability to allow them to ignore ill effects if nearby the techmarine) and then surrounded that marine with some more models to prevent him from being alpha striked.  The rest of his army pretty much deployed as far out to his flank as possible, or was held in reserve (in the case of pods).

I won the roll to deploy my scouts first and opted to put them on my flank, and then scout them up dangerously close to his vindicators (figuring I might need the combi-melta shot).  He used his scouts more defensively in the hopes that they’d block off my alpha strike.

He then unsuccessfully tried to seize the initiative and I started landing pods in his face…

Turn 1: Ultramarines

Wh39kUltraSala1800 (3)I started off the turn by popping my Devastator doctrine, figuring I wanted to make all of my shooting count for the turn.

All of my reserves came in and landed about where I wanted them to (though whether I’d made the right call on deployment would remain to be seen).  My goal was to beat up those vindicators before they could beat me down, and grab what objectives I could.  4/5 reserve units came down around the vindicators, and only a single combat squad of assault marines plopped down on the far end of the board: opting to hold the objective and take two pot shots with plasma pistols instead of charging.

Oh, and my Libriarn manage to perils during his psychic phase, but actually rolled a warp surge, so he became a close combat nightmare–too bad nobody was close enough to charge…

Everything else kind of spread out and peppered what I could with fire.  My Ironclad melta’d one vindicator into oblivion, while the melta-armed devastators only managed to immbolize the other.  My plasma devs managed to kill an assault marine (and subsequently pin them with the formation’s special rule), and I managed to blow up another rhino with a stray lascannon shot.  Otherwise, I managed to dot wounds here and there on his forces (including one wound on each of his centurions–but didn’t manage to actually kill any single model).

In assault, my other squad of assault marines managed to charge into his scouts, where my assault sarge turned down a challenge to save his skin and ensure that they’d be stuck in combat for the enemy turn…

I managed to score four victory points for holding two specific objectives and a third to earn another D3 points.  That plus first blood made for a successful first turn.

Score: Ultramarines: 4+1 vs. Salamanders: 0

Turn 1: Salamanders

Not to be outdone, Brandon brought his tactical squad in and popped his tactical doctrine.  Despite being alpha striked the first turn, he had a pretty solid response, managing to:

  1. Wh39kUltraSala1800 (6)Immobolize my ironclad
  2. Kill both attack bikes
  3. Kill the errant assault marines that
  4. Destroy a drop pod

He also managed to pluck out some heavy weapons out of some of my squads with some well positioned units, repair his vindicator’s immobolized result, and charge my devs with his techmarine.  Alas, despite all of this, he only managed to score a single victory point for holding an objective.  Still, he had a pretty productive turn.

Score: Ultramarines: 4+1 vs. Salamanders: 1

Turn 2: Ultramarines

Wh39kUltraSala1800 (10)He wound up screening a fair number of his units and putting himself in a pretty good position to defend the objectives that he did control.  The only two reasonable objectives I needed to accomplish was to hold twice as many as him, and to take one away from him (the second of which seemed like a pipe dream–not because I couldn’t shoot him off an objective, but beacuse I would have a hard time claiming it if I did.

And frankly, there were more important targets that required my ire.

So, my centurions loaded up with prescience unloaded into his, doing twelve wounds with their grav cannons.  Vulkan, up front, managed to tank just a single wound with his field before falling to three failed saves.  With his biggest threat on the table neutralized, I directed my attention elsewhere.

My assault marines, who had dispatched with the scouts during the previous assault phase, charged into the techmarine in an attempt to save my poor devstators.  In the end, I did manage to save a lone multi-melta marine (who would then die next turn to a stray storm bolter round off a rhino)–so I guess it was worth it…

I scored two points for holding more objectives than he did, and another for slaying his warlord…

Score: Ultramarines: 6+2 vs. Salamanders: 1

Turn 2: Salamanders

Wh39kUltraSala1800 (13)He managed to take an objective from me by hopping over my pod and using objective secured to steal one out from under me.  He also stripped another hull point off my ironclad and shook it for a turn (not that it was moving anywhere).

Otherwise, he did a few wounds to various units, including a critical penetrating hit to my landspeeder storm, who luckily jinked it away (allowing him to be able to steal an objective next turn if need be).

What he did do effectively was to charge my centurions with four assault marines, including a thunderhammer, and started wrecking face.  He managed to do no damage with his chainswords, but that hammer did three to my librarian.  The first I shrugged off on a centurion, but the next two would’ve killed off two cents had I passed the buck, so I opted to make the saves on the librarian’s storm shield–who luckily lived through it.

Brandon scored three points for claiming an objective and stealing another from me..

Score: Ultramarines: 6+2 vs. Salamanders: 4

Turn 3: Ultramarines

Wh39kUltraSala1800 (17)I started this turn by popping my assault doctrine because it was the only one I still had and I was destined to have several units in combat for the turn.

My snapshotting ironclad at long range managed to hit with his meltagun (6) penetrate (6) and explode the rhino who had the audacity to kill my multi-melta marine from the previous turn (justice at last!).

In the psychic phase, I had managed to cast precognition for a re-rollable field save–which would hopefully help me tank some thunder hammer wounds in the assault phase–but that turned out to be unnecessary because my scouts bailed out of the storm to rescue my warlord, challenging the thunder hammer out and tanking the wounds for me.  Though it turns out that the assault sarge only hit one time and failed to wound anyway–he didn’t live through the ensuing power fist attacks.

I wound up scoring a point for holding a random objective and another three for kingslayer.

Score: Ultramarines: 10+2 vs. Salamanders: 4


It was at that point that Brandon cried no joy and we called the game.  He insisted that he had “zero chance to win” that game, but I couldn’t agree with that.  Any game that comes down to dice could always result in a fluke result.  I did agree that he was seriously outnumbered and any chance he had to win was very miniscule, and he wasn’t having fun so it was time to break it up.

I believe the forces we had left were something like:

  • Vindicator
  • 2x Assault Marines (broken)
  • 3x Tactical Marines (locked in combat)
  • 2x Tactical Marines
  • 3x Tactical Marines w/ Melta
  • 1x Drop Pod

In turn, I had:

  • Librarian (wounded)
  • 1x Ironclad (immobolized and out of position)
  • 1x Drop Pod
  • 5x Devs w/ 2x Missiles
  • 4x Devs w/ 1x Missiles
  • 3x Assault Marines w/ Power Axe
  • Landspeeder Storm
  • 5x Scouts w/ Powerfist & Combi-melta
  • 3x Cents (2 wounded)

Undoubtedly, I had the upper hand–and a significant lead.  So, on that note, we called it.

What I Learned:

  1. The list was too hard.  I’m not a competitive player, but I think with some slight tweaks, this list could be seen at a tournament.  For that reason, my list was just too nasty.
  2. Divination is an autotake.  Since it’s so good, I think what I might do in the future is roll my first power from Divination and see if it’s something I want.  If so, I keep rolling.  Otherwise, I take prescience and roll the second power on biomancy.  Hell, maybe I just take biomancy anyway.  I so miss using it with my Tyranids…
  3. The Skyhammer Annilation Force is good.  Frankly, it’s about what I expected it to be–it proved to be a reasonable alpha strike but it alone wasn’t game breaking.
  4. Popping Devastator Doctrine with Skyhammer is fantastic. I guess only the Ultramarines can do that (because other chapters who get the doctrine will only be allowed to use it within the org chart it’s purchased with.  Ultrmarines get to use it on the skyhammer annilation force–which means that we can fairly reliably ensure that the alpha strike is reasonably successful.  In general, I think you want to pop doctrines early because–as time goes on–fewer models will be alive to benefit from using it–but the fact that it helps the skyhammer is an added bonus.
  5. Jinking doesn’t seem to have an effect on passengers.  When a vehicle goes fast it affects the passengers, as when it’s damaged, but when it jinks, it doesn’t seem to have any negative impact.  Is that accurate?

11 comments on “Batrep: Ultramarines vs. Salamanders (1800pts)

  1. Hey guys,

    Have you considered playing some of the ITC scenarios? They’re pretty fun, and combine some of the better aspects of Maelstrom with those of the Eternal War missions. Plus they have modified some of the secondaries so they’re not so swingy (mostly getting rid of First Blood).

    That’s a tough army though Rob. Skyhammer is pretty brutal; played against it this weekend at a Team Tournament – lucky for us it was all Grav Devestators, and we were playing Eldar, so…not as effective. It did make my D-Cannon batter go to ground though.

    • I don’t know what the UTC missions are. I wouldn’t mind trying them–but I’m not sure what the real advantage to them over the base missions are.

      I agree that the list is pretty tough (see my lessons learned), and think that skyhammer was good, but even after the fact, I don’t think it’s ridiculous. Is that one turn of shock and awe comparable to facing an entire army of scatterbikes, etc.?

      On Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 9:35 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


      • Thanks, though I’m not sure that I get it. For example, under “Mission 1” it says “dawn of war Mission” is “modified emperor’s will” as the primary objective. What does that mean?

        I do kind of like the bonus points (Though there are so many different options/variations that it’s kind of overwhelming to think of them all. Of course, they’re really not new concepts, as most of those have already existed in missions throughout the game’s history: it’s just unique to see them all scored every game).

        The one thing I really don’t like is that you only score things at the end of game turns as it gives such a huge advantage for shooting armies that go second. Scoring your objectives at the end of your own turn seems far more fair.

        On Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 8:39 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


      • Nova’s is “end of opponents turn”, which i feel is a nice compromise between end of game turn, and end of your turn. Your turn, you just have to sit on something, and there is no reprisal. Game turn, you encounter issues with who went first or second. Opponents turn balances that out a bit.

      • I understand the trepidation for facing shooting armies going second, but wouldn’t be be worse against shooting armies that go first? Taking away many of the bonuses for the “alpha strike” help the game out a lot, I feel like. Going second rarely has any perks otherwise. It’s been my experience in many 40k games I’ve played where I’ve either killed everything dangerous or had all my answers killed on the first turn, and been helpless to counter attack. At least then it’d be a decision on whether or the the alpha-striker wants to be at an advantage or disadvantage for the mission.

        I mean, i understand that much of this isn’t new, it’s just cool to be playing like three missions all the at the same time. It makes a fun balance between trying to kill your opponent and trying to win other objectives. I’ve been finding it’s very important to take a couple of units that I can easily get into the opponent’s deployment zone; it really helps them not to score so many points (and helps you score some secondary ones).

      • Yeah, alpha strike is the easy counter-argument. I just don’t play/play against many super powerful alpha strike kind of lists. And most of them generally don’t seem overly critical–especially if you setup relatively defensive, or use reserves, etc.

        There just isn’t any way to combat scoring only at the end of the game turn for the first player though. Sure, you can pile more bodies on the objective in the hopes that you don’t get shot off, but that’s about it. I think that’s an advantage that really can’t be mitigated.

        On Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 11:07 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  2. The various scenarios and missions at NOVA, or ITC, just add variety to the base game. The ITC’s basically reduces the randomness of the cards completely impacting the game, as the randomness is reduced to objects, board control, and killing things. And even then, they only count for secondary (not primary points).

    Nova allows you to pick and choose your secondaries from a list, as well as having asymmetrical primaries. One side can choose to grab objectives at the end, while the other player could choose to score objectives turn by turn.

    It creates really interesting scenarios, in which no game ever plays the same way.

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