Simon lives a town or two away from us, but still manages to show up for game night on occasion (keep in mind, it’s still just 30 miles, but frequent readers of my blog will recognize that’s too far for me to drive, so thank heavens that my friends are less squeamish than I…). Anywho, his local gaming store is holding a game day where they’re focusing on starter style armies, and he wanted to make some 600 point lists using some of the takeaways from our last battle to help with list construction. I happily obliged, considering this was a chance for me to play 40k (they seem to happen so rarely anymore), and it brought me up even to my goal: 1 game per month.
Simon’s Black Legion:
- Chaos Lord w/ Aura of dark glory, Bike, Bolt Pistol, Power Armour, The SpineShiver Blade, Veterans of the Long War, Warlord
- 13x Cultist w/ autopistols, Heavy Flamer, & Champion
- 10x Chaos Space Marines w/ 2x Meltagun, Melta Bombs, Power Weapon, Combi-Melta, Vets in Chaos Rhino w/ Dirge Caster
- Fast Attack:
- 5x Chaos Spawn
He had actually made four lists for the evening–though we only played a single game. This particular list was just the first in his line-up so he opted to use it. The lord and the spawn formed one mega unit that proved to be relatively scary in this format.
Of course, it’s not ultra-competitive: the list was surely going to people that would bring multiple Flyrants or other min-maxed list, but I think overall it looks ok for a casual/fun game.
My Ultramarine Scouting Force
- Level 2 Librarian (Telekinesis: Force, Assail, Shockwave, Levitation)
- Dreadnought w/ Multi-melta & Heavy Flamer
- 10x Tactical Marines w/ Lascannon & Plasma gun in Las/Plas Razorback
- 5x Scouts w/ 4x Snipers, Bolter, Camo Cloaks
- Fast Attack:
- 3x Bikes w/ 2x Plasma guns
When Simon told me the point of the list was to prepare for a local game day wherein people prepare to play starter games, I probably should’ve looked up just what comes in the new boxes from GW. Instead, I just thought about what pretty iconic basic units for marines consist of: Tacticals, Dreadnoughts, & Scouts. I threw in a Librarian as a fairly basic and cheap HQ (no upgrades) and a Razorback because a transport would be a good idea and I rarely use them. The bikes were a complete afterthought.
I went with Telekinesis as my powers because one of the gaming group brought his nephew and he chose it randomly for me, along with my powers…
Mission & Deployment:
We opted to go with a traditional “Eternal War” mission and got the one where each of us places an objective in our deployment zone. We each chose the right flank of the board and plopped small objective holding units (cultists and scouts) on them to hopefully hold them throughout the game. We diced off, and Simon won the initiative. After I failed to steal it, the game started with a dark tide approaching.
Turn 1: Chaos
One issue with Simon’s list is that he really doesn’t have much in the way of ranged firepower. There was a building in the middle of the board, and he used it to split his rhino and his chaos lord/spawn. Between then, he was able to pop a couple of bolter shots out of the hatch, but that was it. It made for a very quick–if uneventful–turn.
Turn 1: Ultramarines
With my lack of assault units, that lord and spawn was clearly the biggest threat on the board; however, since they were toughness five, I didn’t feel like I could do all that much about it. I suppose I could’ve peppered them with bolter fire as they mowed through my units, but that didn’t seem like it would end well. I figured that my best bet would be to charge my dreadnought in, as the unit didn’t have any STR6 (except for the Chaos Lord’s grenades), but I was going to have to keep the other marines out of that combat.
So my choice was to focus fire on the rhino and hope to blow it up, and whittle down the squad. Well, after everything in my army had fired at it, I hadn’t done so much as a single hull point of damage. Well, everything except the dreadnought himself. He lined up his multi-melta and managed to destroy the transport outright, critically wounding four models in the process. Armor saved two of them from their untimely fate, but that left two corpses, so it wasn’t a bad start after all.
When it came to randomly allocating the wounds, we used a D10 and assigned the special models (melta, melta, sarge) as 8-10 respectively. As luck would have it, the two models that wound up dying in that explosion just happened to be the two special weapons. For the second game in a row, one round of early shooting made me feel completely immune to Simon’s force…
Turn 2: Chaos
I mentioned to Simon at this point that I intended to charge him with my Dreadnought and hold his deathstar unit in combat for the rest of the game. Still he decided to charge my scouts to get them off the objective (presumably with the hopes that he could sweeping advance far enough away that I would miss a charge through difficult terrain). The scouts proved to be no match for the plethora of limbs and tentacles, and died almost before the spawn had a chance to swing.
Elsewhere, the chaos marines huddled up for warmth and pelted my bike squad with bolters. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to kill off two models, leaving a lone plasma gun tell the tale.
Turn 2: Ultramarines
True to my word, I wound up assaulting him with my dreadnought. The Dreadnought didn’t fire–for fear of doing enough wounds to force himself out of charge range, instead he charged headlong and crashed his fist into the nearest abomination. Of the four attacks, all hit, but three of them failed to wound! Simon opted to use “Our Weapons are Useless” and run away–I failed to catch him, but he also failed to go very far..
We should note that “Our Weapons are Useless” doesn’t work in this situation because his lord has Krak Grenades, so he wasn’t allowed to break–we didn’t realize that until next turn though. Likewise, as a marked lord, he’s also fearless…
Everything else that I had returned salvo at the chaos space marines, who suffered rather devastating losses.
Turn 3: Chaos
The spawn wound up rallying, but couldn’t really do much. They weren’t allowed to charge that turn and couldn’t run, plus didn’t have any appreciable range firepower. Due to the way that they were positioned earlier, they also couldn’t get too far away from my dreadnought (about 8-9″ total). We debated the various options he had, and frankly none of them looked to be any good. I suggested that he move through difficult terrain away from me as far as possible in the hopes that I would be slowed down too much to charge. That way he could regroup and focus on the units he could actually kill.
That was what he did. On the other side of the board, the remaining black legion skulked in the shadows in the hopes of getting some cover from incoming plasma fire.
Turn 3: Ultramarines
My first move through cover roll for the dreadnought was a six, which was enough to get him completely out of the crater and set him up for a 4″ charge (which seemed more prudent than moving in a straight line and going for a 3″ charge through difficult terrain). Spoiler alert: he made the charge and squished another two spawn.
My other marines wound up repositioning around the board (thanks in part to “levitation”)–a few chose to chase the straggling chaos marines, but the majority went to pour fire into the spawn and lord (not so much to weaken them, but mostly because they were in the way to get to the cultists). My razorback moved towards my own objective, holding which should secure the victory for me (since I already had first blood and was fairly intent to keep my warlord out of combat). I had considered holding back entirely, but there was always a chance that he could snag linebreaker and force a tie if I didn’t push something into his deployment zone…
We probably went into his turn a little bit, but time was running down for him (he had told me in advance it would be a short night because he was also his teenage kids’ ride), so we opted to call it here and do a lessons learned. We spent the rest of the evening talking about where he could’ve gone better from a list building and tactical perspective–I think he took some good pearls of wisdom from the battle.
Sure, you can’t win them all, but as long as you learn and build on it, that’s an opportunity for improvement.
What I Learned:
This is normally the part where I mention what I learned in the battle, but for this particular recap, I thought I’d go over what we learned about Simon’s army. One thing I will say though is that playing a really small game like this was quite refreshing. Not a lot of options or decisions, so things played quick and smoothly. I could definitely do this again…
- Too many add-ons. He really loves to tool up units, and it shows. Extra unnecessary add-ons for units include: Power Sword, Dirge Caster, Extra Cultists and a flamer, etc.
- Need a way to deal with a dreadnought. Honestly, his deathstar is pretty great in this format, but what would he do against a dreadnought? It’s worth dropping a cultist to give the guy meltabombs at least. May also consider giving him an AP2 weapon because a squad of Terminators may prove to be almost as tough for him to crack.
- Would be a good idea to have a long range threat neutralizer. Obliterators are one of the best things in his codex, and would do fantastic in this format due to their toughness (particularly Nurgle marked ones) and their versatility. They would give him another way to deal with the dread at range–because after that, his deathstar looks so much better against my list…
- Cheap HQ’s are good. Granted, he doesn’t have a whole lot of points in his, but when you add in the spawn, it does get pretty pricey. He should consider running a cheap HQ like a level two sorcerer. Added bonus: you can automatically get Demon summoning, which means you’ll get 100 points extra every time you successfully cast it (which can be huge in a 600 point game), and you could also get a Bloodthirster to boot! Of course, he kept wanting to tool that guy up to double his base points though. Some habits die hard…