BatRep: Word Bearers vs. Black Legion (1650pts)

Regular readers of my blog will probably notice that I haven’t played a game since January (which was an Apocalypse game), and that clearly means that I’m behind if I’m going to get my typical “one game per month” quota in.  Particularly astute members of my blog will realize that I don’t have a chaos army to field (though that hasn’t stopped me from playing games with unpainted chaos armies back in the day).  Well, now that I think of it, I do have a semblance of a painted Chaos force that has yet to see the table…

But that’s neither here nor there.  What I did wind up playing was Brandon’s Word Bearer army (seen in various battle reports around the site), and that was because he and I got to talking about competitive vs. casual players.  I’d say that we’re both reasonably sound tacticians that try not to play “hardc0re” competitive style lists.  We pride ourselves on “not cherry picking the best units” in our codices, but I do find myself falling back on many an old-standby.  In an effort to shake up our paradigms, we opted to make lists for each other on an “anything goes” basis (assuming it was all painted–can’t break that rule anymore…).  So, he went with his Chaos force, and I gave him Tyranids.

Rob’s Word Bearers:

  • HQ:
    • (Warlord) Daemon Prince of Khorne w/ Power Armor & Axe of Blind Fury
    • Sorcerer: Level 2 psyker w/ Sigil of Corruption (I never even looked up what that did): (Malefic: Dark Flame, Summoning, Possession)
  • Elites:
    • 5x Possessed
    • Hellbrute w/ Multi-melta
    • Hellbrute w/ Lascannon
  • Troops:
    • 10x CSM w/ Power Weapon, Icon of Vengeance & 2x Plasma Gun
    • 10x CSM w/ Power Weapon, Icon of Vengeance & 2x Meltagun in Rhino w/ Dirge Caster & Dozer Blade
    • 10x Cultists
  • Fast Attack:
    • 5x Warp Talons
  • Heavy Support:
    • Defiler w/ Dirge Caster
    • Chaos Predator: w/ Autocannon, Heavy Bolter Sponsons, Combi-bolter, Dozer Blade & Havoc Launcher

WH39kChaosVSimonArmies (2)

Brandon has a lot of armies, but not a lot of depth in them.  Essentially he gave me most everything that he has painted for his Chaos marines, with some small tweaks for “inferior” units.  Typically when I play against his chaos, he also uses a bloodthirster and demons, but in the interest of toning down the list, he instead gave me a foot prince.  He gave me the sorcerer so that I could use him as my warlord if I wanted to hide him in a unit.   Instead I made the Prince my warlord, figuring that I didn’t want to give up slay the warlord when I eventually summoned that bloodthirster…

Otherwise, I knew what many of the units did because I’d faced most (if not all?) of them when Brandon fielded them against me in previous games.

Automatically, the list was good because it included a defiler (he knows how I feel about low AP large blasts).  I was worried that it didn’t have many ways to deal with tanks though, but he insisted that there should be plenty…

Simon’s “Little Legion”:

  • WH39kChaosVSimonArmies (1)HQ:
    • Chaos Lord w/ Chainfist, Gift of Mutation, Lightning Claw, Mark of Khorne, Terminator Armor, Skull of Ker’ngar, Vets
  • Elites:
    • Decimator Engine w/ 2x Siege Claws & Dedications of Khorne
    • 3x Terminators w/ Combi-bolters, 2x Powersword, 1x Lightning Claw, Vets, & Gift of Mutation
  • Troops:
    • 10x Chosen w/ 4x Plasma, Vets, Powersword, Combi-bolter, Melta-Bombs in Rhino w/ Dirgecaster
    • 10x Chosen w/ 4x Plasma, Vets, Powersword, Combi-bolter, Melta-Bombs in Rhino w/ Dirgecaster
  • Heavy Support:
    • Chaos Infernal Relic Predator w/ Lascannons, Legacy of Ruin, Maelstrom Raider, Magna-melta cannon
    • Chaos Vindicator w/ Combi-bolter & Demonic Possession
    • Chaos Vindicator w/ Combi-bolter & Demonic Possession

This is the sort of list that makes me quake with fear.  The thing I questioned whether Brandon’s list was able to deal with (vehicles) was what this list was basically entirely comprised of.  And to top it off, it had not one, but three large blasts, all of which were AP2!

Of course, I had nothing in my army that was better than AP3, so I’m not exactly sure why that frightened me anymore than a standard battle cannon would’ve–especially since they are all short range.  Still, there’s something about an AP2 large blast denying saves from any kind of armor that make me act unreasonably.

Clearly my plan was going to be to take out those blasts first, and do so in such a way that I exposed as little of my army to them as possible…

Mission & Deployment:

WH39kChaosVSimon (2)For mission, we went for a Maelstrom of War and got the one where you start off with six objectives, and earn another (up to six total) for each objective you controlled at the start of your turn.  We diced off, and I took the board side that had better cover to start with and deployed hiding most of my units behind the hill, but as close to the objectives as possible.  The plan was to jump, take some pot-shots where possible, and hold onto a few objectives.  When Simon failed to seize the initiative, I took the first turn:

Turn 1: Word Bearers

WH39kChaosVSimon (10)True to my word, I advanced slowly with my forces, trying to stay out of range and/or line of sight of those demolisher cannons to the best of my ability.  The only units that were more brazen were my dreadnoughts really, who hoped to get some clear line of sight to those tanks.  Between them and my Demolisher cannon, I did manage to strip off a couple of hull points, but didn’t stop them from moving or shooting, so it proved to be relatively uneventful.

One thing that did go right is that I was able to get off a daemonic summoning spell, and plopped a blob of pink horrors in front of my enemy.  Granted, they weren’t able to shoot or really do much of anything (except to impede my opponents and potentially threaten him with S5 shooting next turn), but sometimes that’s enough.    One mistake I made here was that I’d forgotten that anyone except for Daemons gets a perils–and I threw enough dice that I most assuredly would’ve failed that test…  That’s something I have to keep an eye out for.

What did work out for me was I had about the perfect opening hand of objectives.  I had to claim two objectives that were right next to me and earned D3 each for having units within 12″ of my deployment zone and having twice as many objective markers as my opponent (who started off on none–the only one immediately in his deployment zone was in a building which he couldn’t readily access from inside his tanks).

Score: Word Bearers: 6 – Black Legion: 0

Turn 1: Black Legion

WH39kChaosVSimon (7)His turn went fairly fast.  It consisted of two demolisher cannon shots (one missed my Defiler completely, scattering harmlessly off into the distance) and the other deviated as well, clipping a few pink horrors, failing to wound all but one–who managed to successfully pass his daemonic ward save.  The other shooting came in the form of plasma out of the top of his rhino hatches.  One rhino plinked helplessly into the defiler, while the other managed to roll three one’s, nuking one of his own gunners.  Luckily, the last shot wounded, but the ward save kept my unit unharmed for the turn.

To make things worse, Simon had drawn a bad hand of objectives to start out with, earning no victory points for the turn.

Score: Word Bearers: 6 – Black Legion: 0

Turn 2: Word Bearers

WH39kChaosVSimon (9)To match Simon’s round of terrible shooting, I had a round of fantastic marksmanship: blowing up his two vindicators with lucky shots from my hellbrutes.  From that point, I was no longer afraid of my opponent’s army and wound up running things forward to threaten more units.  Additionally, since I was on three objectives, I was able to draw three cards.  Sadly, those were two objectives in his deployment zone and the “Domination” card where I had to hold all objectives in the game.

WH39kChaosVSimon (10)Since he was down to two units on the table, I thought about keeping that particular card, but wound up tossing it at the end of my turn for a couple of reasons.  First, he still had reserves that were due on starting this turn, so it wouldn’t be as easy to hold them all as it might seem.  Second, if you already control all of the objectives, you’re likely already winning (especially in this particular scenario), so it’s more of a “win more” kind of card.  Lastly, it didn’t seem sporting.  If was going to complete that objective, it would be demoralizing: scoring as much as an extra six points for completing the one card?  That would surely put the game out of reach…

For psychic powers, I wound up trying to hull point out a rhino with ST5 shooting, but rolled poorly.

Score: Word Bearers: 6+1 – Black Legion: 0

Turn 2: Black Legion

WH39kChaosVSimon (12)Most of his reserves managed to come on, including his demios predator and his terminator squad (along with his warlord).  The demios outflanked and wound up coming in on whatever side he wanted, and he opted to place it on the side where my defiler was.  He did it in such a way that he’d get shots on my rear armor and kept himself well out of range of the melta squad who had already advanced up the side.  We all sat down together and were reviewing tactical choices during the game.  In part, we were trying to improve his game play, and talking about why one move would be tactically superior to another.  We agreed that this was likely his best move–besides, killing the defiler would clear up objective #3, which he had two cards for.

He did manage to hit with both the magna-melta & a lascannon, and I failed the daemonic ward save for both, but neither was enough to either paralyze it or destroy it outright.  His Terminators deep struck aggressively, and wound up deviating almost ten inches away–but landed safely in a river bed.

His plasma marines tried in vain to strip the last hull point from my defiler, and the others plinked harmlessly into my pink horrors (astonishingly also rolling three ones to hit, and another one to wound–but at least he didn’t kill off any of his marines this time).

He didn’t manage to get any objectives this turn, but mostly because he had was filled with dead cards, and because he wasn’t on many objectives himself.

Score: Word Bearers: 6+1 – Black Legion: 0

Turn 3: Word Bearers

WH39kChaosVSimon (16)Not taking kindly to being shot in the keester, my Defiler spun about and charged at the Demios, reducing it to a matter of scrap without having to even roll (four penetrating hits was going to hull point it out no matter what I rolled)–though for good measure, we did confirm that he blew it up entirely.

For psychic powers, I successfully manifested the Tzeetnch primaris power, and felled a single terminator in the process.  In shooting, I dispatched his transports: killing the rhino to my right and immobilizing the far rhino, which would force the inhabitants to come out and deal with the pink horrors.

By the end of the turn, I did control every objective (maybe I should’ve kept “domination?”) and earned six victory points for that.  Not because I had Domination, of course, but because I just happened to have six cards that said “Hold Objective X” and I had them all.

Score: Word Bearers: 12+1 – Black Legion: 0

Turn 3: Black Legion

WH39kChaosVSimon (20)Down, but not out, Simon was about to make his first objective of the game: kill a unit during his turn.  He did manage to kill 8/10 horrors (who cried no joy and bolted towards my board edge), and when his Decimator Engine came in, he flamed 8/10 cultists (who would’ve run, had they not had a LD10 sorcerer in the squad).  On my left flank, the other chaos space marines chose to shoot at and charge my daemon prince (we spoke long about their options, of which they really didn’t have any good ones–Simon ultimately hoped luck would be on his side, so he could kill of a big threat on that end of the table).

Luck wasn’t on his side though.

He did manage to wound the beast, and I rolled poorly to hit him (considering I was WS8, that’s pretty impressive).  Sadly, when you’re rolling 9 attacks, poorly isn’t all that bad, and he lost his champion before he’d gotten a chance to strike.  What he did manage to do was to tie me up during my turn, as well as score his first two victory points for holding objective #3, thanks to the “objective secured” rule…

Score: Word Bearers: 12+1 – Black Legion: 2

Turn 4: Word Bearers

WH39kChaosVSimon (24)With my broken horrors still fleeing, no more models to summon (except bloodletters, which are quite bad in my opinion–especially against terminators and vehicles), I opted to instead raise my sorcerer to a higher level of being.  He broke free from the pesky cultist squad (to hide behind a hellbrute), and evolved into a Bloodthirster before our very eyes (technically that would’ve counted as a kill for Simon).

Most everything I had fired at the demon engine, lascannons, melta-guns, & multi-melta, but only a single shot hit.  It would’ve blown it sky high, if it weren’t for it’s daemonic ward save.  I guess what comes around, goes around.  In assault, I wound up piling in my Defiler with the Prince, which my opponent thought was overkill, but I actually needed the extra attacks to kill off the remaining members of the squad.

I’d earned another three victory points: two for holding objective #4 and another for destroying a unit of my opponent.

Score: Word Bearers: 15+1 – Black Legion: 2

Turn 4: Black Legion

WH39kChaosVSimon (29)His Decimator Engine charged headlong into combat with the closest unit available: my hellbrute.  Come to find out, that’s not exactly what Decimator Engines are good for.  Sure, it had a lot of attacks, but due to a lower initiative and weapon skill, it wasn’t hitting too much.  Plus, he was only ST8, so it made penetrating the hellbrute’s armor kind of difficult.  Upon further inspection, we read up on the unit, and it seems he’s far better at killing infantry and light transports than armored units.  But that was a mistake that would take several game turns to finally discover…

On the other side, his Terminators and Chosen wound up dispatching the rest of my chaos space marine squad and held onto their own objective, hopefully earning him a card for future turns.

He did earn a point for finally killing one of my units in his turn though, so that’s something!

Score: Word Bearers: 15+1 – Black Legion: 3

Turn 5: Word Bearers

WH39kChaosVSimon (31)My bloodthirster took flight, and wound up charging into his Terminator Lord and bathing himself in blood.  Truth to be told, he didn’t roll spectacularly, and wound up doing a couple of wounds, but not killing anyone.  He also took a wound or two himself.  My hellbrute exchanged blows with the decimator engine, fairly consistently doing one hull point to it per turn.  Otherwise, I tried to stay on objectives and move my other units (who had stranded themselves on the far side of the board) towards the action.

I scored four points for objectives: two for holding numbered objectives and two more for killing a character and for getting three units into my enemy’s deployment zone (warp talons, rhino, CSM squad).

Score: Word Bearers: 19+1 – Black Legion: 3

Turn 5: Black Legion

WH39kChaosVSimon (34)With two squads in the game, he opted to charge his remaining chosen squad into my bloodthirster, in the hopes that they could must an extra wound or two of damage, but sadly, the ‘Thirster squished his warlord, along with a few chaos marines for good measure, and then proceeded to run them down to end the assault phase.

A ray of light came in when my hellbrute failed to wound his Decimator Engine, and he managed to hull point me out, earning another objective for destroying a unit in his assault phase.

Score: Word Bearers: 19+3 – Black Legion: 4

The Aftermath:

The game wound up ending there due to random game length, with my opponent having just a single model on the table, who had a single hull point left.  That’s the scene in the game where everything fades to black before he gets bathed in a swath of melta, and then feasted upon by the unholy entity which is the bloodthirster.

In hindsight, things didn’t go at all as I expected.  I fretted that the list Brandon had built was too weak, but realistically I think he did a good job of making a fair/balanced list.  It did have some ranged anti-tank, some assault potential, some mobility, some units that did little more than hold objectives (I’m looking at you: Predator).  Really, I think it was actually quite a good list–specifically for this sort of game.  Sure, it’d get plucked apart in a tournament, but that’s not what we’re doing here.

Sadly, I had hoped that Simon would fair better. I had expected his army would do more, but clearly there were problems.  It turns out that there are some problems with his list (far too many points on chosen–he’d be better off using small units of CSM with melta).  Simon’s always been a big fan of theme and going for the big/cool looking units, but that doesn’t translate to wins.  Additionally, he had bigger problems with his dice rolls, and–to some extent–his style of play.  We need to get that guy some new dice, and also work out subtleties in how he plays (like try to hold objectives in the game–though I don’t think he’s played all that many Maelstrom of War scenarios, so he should get a pass on that one).

What I Learned:

  1. When using Malefic powers you perils on any double (unless you’re daemons).  I knew this, but I never use the powers, so it’s easy to forget.
  2. Know your units.  Simon wound up charging my hellbrute with his Decimator Engine.  Come to find out: that unit is pretty good at dealing with infantry, and pretty fantastic at dealing with transports–but one huge limitation is dealing with walkers.  ST8 just doesn’t cut the mustard.
  3. Simon is a terrific sport.  The guy has a pretty abysmal win/loss ratio, yet he keeps playing.  I don’t think I’d have it in me to keep it up.  We gotta do something to get him a few wins though.  It wouldn’t be right to just throw a game though, so we need more ideas….



11 comments on “BatRep: Word Bearers vs. Black Legion (1650pts)

  1. Nice report! I’ve thought about doing something slightly similar, swapping armies with an opponent where you make the list your opponent will play. Lists will naturally be weak but possibly even. Haven’t tried it though.

    • I liked the idea of having someone make my list. It forced me to think on my feet and try things that I wouldn’t have normally fielded (especially since I was playing someone else’s figures completely).

      I’ve done something like it in the past too where we intentionally made the worst list possible for each other. That too, was entertaining, and ultimately helped us put some sort of barometer on which units were truly bad and which shined in that setting.

      On Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 6:38 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


      • I’ve found some of my most memorable and balanced battles were against my friend, where we split his Imperial Guard army in half (not even bothering with points) and played city fight battles from the old codex. He had every unit in the book, so it was interesting seeing rough riders and ogyrns actually used

  2. Even after being involved in this hobby for so long I find that there is always more to learn. I think you’re right about those dice too. Or perhaps I should perform some fell rituals to gain the favor of the dark gods…nothing else seems to be working!

      • Lol you don’t have to give me dice…and I’d rather win before September if it’s all the same to you!

    • I deferred to my opponent to say how we played it, but that makes sense. I’m looking it up now, and missed the “each player generates 1 tactical objective at the start of his first turn” statement, but it also says lower that “If, at the start of a player’s turn he has fewer than 6 Active Tactical Objectives, he must generate one new Tactical Objective for each Objective Marker he currently controls (to a maximum of 6)…”

      So, one could easily argue that you get one automatically, and you also get more for each objective you’re on. Because the second part doesn’t say “at the start of a player’s turn–AFTER THE FIRST…”

      Actually, now that I read through it, I think that’s actually what it says.

      But, even if that were true, we still would’ve played it wrong, because we started with six total, and not one for each objective we were on (or one for each objective + 1 starting one).

      On Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 12:42 PM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  3. So, he went with his Chaos force, and I gave him Tyranids.

    So even the black legion is now a servant to the hive mind 😛

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