Batrep: Ultramarines vs. Death Guard (1850 pts)

Given that we’ve all psyched ourselves up for 40k with the recent Apoc game, we decided to actually play some normal games as well.  Four guys were supposed to show up, but only three did, making for even teams (including me as the 4th).  We paired off, and I wound up playing against Albert…

The Forces of Ultramar:

  • wh39kvAlbert (1)HQ:
    • Chief Librarian Tigurius (Biomancy: Smite, Iron Arm, Enfeeble, & Haemorrage)
  • Elites:
    • 5x Terminators inc. Heavy Flamer
    • 6x Sternguard w/ 1x Meltagun & Power Axe in Drop Pod w/ Deathwind Launcher
    • 8x Legion of the Damned w/ Plasma Cannon & Powerfist
  • Troops:
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Lascannon & Plasmagun in Las/Plas Razorback
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Missile Launcher & Meltagun in Las/Plas Razorback
    • 5x Space Marine Scouts w/ CCW inc. Vet Sergeant w/ Thunderhammer & Combi-melta in Landspeeder Storm w/ H. Flamer
    • 5x Space Marine Scouts w/ Sniper Rifles, Camo Cloaks, & 1x Missile Launchers
  • Fast Attack:
    • 3x Storm Talons w/ Twin-linked Assault Cannons & Skyhammer Missles

I don’t have any sort of set strategy when building lists: I start somewhere and generally don’t end up anywhere near where I was planning when I finish.  In this case, I knew I was playing Albert (I was the last one to actually make a list because I’m a horrible procrastinator) and so I wanted to make a list that wasn’t crushingly hard given that Albert’s win-loss ratio isn’t exactly stellar.  I’m not looking to throw games, mind you, but at least to make things competitive.

I knew that I wanted to play Storm Talons because I had recently painted them up, so they were in the back of my mind.  I opted to go with Tigurius because–well, I’m not sure why.  No other HQ’s were appealing to me at the time.  I eventually rolled Biomancy on him because it was a set of powers that I rarely use.  Maybe I should’ve tried one of the new Librarius powers…

Anywho, with Tigirius’ ability to adjust reserves, I just opted to go with a bunch of units that could use those rules.  The flyers went into the mix (all in one squadron because they’re inferior that way, and so that I could try out attack patterns).  I put in the “normal” terminators because I never run them and I hate them so (more on this later), and also included other models that I very infrequently run: Sternguard, Legion of the Damned, and Razorbacks. 

Albert’s Chaos Space Marines:

  • HQ:
    • Chaos Sorcerer (level 3) w/ Spell Familiar (Sanctic: Banishment, Gate of Infinity, Sanctuary, & Vortex of Doom)
    • Chaos Sorcerer (level 3) w/ Spell Familiar (Pyromancy: Flame Breath, Fire Shield, Spontaneous Combustion, & Inferno)
  • Elites:
    • 1x Hellbrute w/ Twin-linked Lascannon
    • 1x Hellbrute w/ Twin-linked Lascannon
  • Troops:
    • 10x Chaos Space Marines w/ 1x Plasma Pistol, 1x Heavy Bolter, Powerfist & Plasma Pistol w/ Mark of Nurgle in Rhino w/ Havoc Launcher
    • 10x Chaos Space Marines w/ 1x Plasmagun, 1x Meltagun, Power Axe  w/ Mark of Nurgle in Rhino w/ Havoc Launcher
    • 20x Cultists w/ 1x Heavy Stubber, 1x Flamer, 1x Shotgun & Mark of Nurgle
    • 20x Cultists w/ 1x Heavy Stubber, 1x Flamer, 1x Shotgun & Mark of Nurgle
  • Fast Attack:
    • 1x Helldrake
  • Heavy Support:
    • 1x Forgefiend w/ 3x Ecto-Cannons
    • 2x Obliterators w/ Mark of Nurgle

I called them “Death Guard” in the post header, but technically speaking, they’re just marked Chaos models.   As far as armies go, this has become pretty much par for the course for Albert.  He generally runs one of two variants: this above or one that’s modified to include terminators and Typhus.  I think this is in part to do comfort/familiarity, but also because he doesn’t have a ton of models painted up.

One interesting curiosity is that, though he runs dark forces of Chaos, he loves to go with Sanctic as one of his preferred psychic disciplines.  This is because he loves that Vortex of Doom!

Mission & Deployment:

I let Albert chose the mission and setup the terrain while I was making my list.  He opted to go with an Eternal War mission: Big Guns Never Tire (or whatever the actual mission is called–it’s the one where having Heavy Support units is a liability.  I didn’t know he was going with that mission when I was making my list–I swear!

He went really light on the terrain as well.  It consisted entirely of two buildings and a couple of craters–as such, it didn’t make a huge impact on the game.  The light terrain came as a result of a conversation we had during setup and a lack of interest on either of our parts to get the ladder out in order to obtain more buildings.

We rolled off for deployment and I opted to take the side that had a building just outside the deployment zone (the other one being right in the center of the board).  I deployed tactical squads on either flank and infiltrated my scouts (the snipers took the only roost in the building they could stand in, while the landspeeder storm took a cautious approach on the side of the board behind my building.

I forgot to make any scout moves, and Albert failed to seize the initiative… so we moved on to turn 1.

Turn 1: Ultramarines

wh39kvAlbert (3)I took an aggressive approach with my Sternguard, dropping them behind enemy lines so I could kill the Vortex of Doom before it became a problem.  Honestly, I could’ve also targeted the Hellbrute, but they just didn’t have enough punch to ensure they could kill a vehicle like that.  The sorcerer failed to get hurt by the Melta, but all of those AP3 bolters would ensure that he wouldn’t be casting dispersions at me throughout he game.

Otherwise, I took some long range pot-shots with a few lascannons (including one that moved up into the ruin), but only managed to cause a single hull-point on his Ectoplasmic Monstrosity.

Turn 1: Chaos

wh39kvAlbert (5)His cultists turned their attention to the Sternguard and thinned my models out a bit (including the melta-gun) before failing a charge.  His Hellbrute would’ve joined in the fun, but he was too busy firing off at my landspeeder storm (who rightfully chose to jink).  The other Hellbrute fired at a razorback on the far end of the table and managed to stun it–which at least ensured it wasn’t going to be shot at in the next turn.

The Forgefiend unloaded into my other razorback, and even managed to hit with two of his three plasma shots, but then promptly rolled snake-eyes when trying to penetrate.  He did pluck off a few models, but not enough to actually kill any of my squads–though as far as points went, we were probably neck and neck at this point.

Turn 2: Ultramarines

wh39kvAlbert (8)Thanks to the ability to re-roll my reserves, everything I had came on the board, and they all appeared more-or-less in the areas that I wanted them to.  The Legion of the damned dropped into a large whole on my left flank to help deal the majority of threats over there, while the Terminators dropped on the right to threaten his Hellbrute.  Meanwhile, the flyers came onto the board in a formation that granted them tank hunter, thereby allowing me to vaporize the Daemon engine in front of them.

I will say that otherwise, I had a fairly uneventful turn.  I did manage to wreck a rhino with Tiggy’s Warlord Trait (that grants rending to a nearby squad), but really did little more than that.   I’ll also say that this turn (and practically every turn hereafter) I wound up putting up both Iron Arm on Tiggy and Enfeeble on a nearby unit–though I almost always forgot to factor in Enfeebles effects in the combats.  Doh!

Turn 2: Chaos

wh39kvAlbert (10)All of Albert’s reserves also came in, and this is the point where I remembered how much I hate Helldrakes.  He fluttered around the board nuking a squad per turn in an unceremoniousus fashion.  Each turn he would wind up vector striking one unit and then nuking another.

His obliterators dropped down to assist his hellbrute, and fired Plasma Cannons into my Terminators.  Through some miracle, I managed to only lose one to that salvo–though they wouldn’t fair much better against the nearby cultists.  Despite the fact that I had killed half off them upon arrival with a flamer blast, the rest managed to kill one terminator in shooting and another on the charge, leaving me with a squad of two models relatively quickly.

Turn 3: Ultramarines

wh39kvAlbert (12)Knowing that the helldrake was going to be a problem for me, I opted to drop my flyers out of the sky and into hover mode in order to get shots on his rear armor.  Sure, it was going to require 6’s to hit, but I had popped an Ultramarines disciple in order to get re-rolls on snapshots.  In hindsight, I think that I cheated, because I believe the unit needs to have chapter tactics in order to benefit from that rule, and I suspect Storm Talons do not.

Not that it mattered anyway, as I only managed to two penetrating hits and a glance–all of which Albert managed to save.

The most interesting event that happened this turn was that my Legion of the Damned were in a pretty bad spot, given that they had been charged by Plague Marines last turn.  To save them, I wound up pushing my Scouts towards the fray, along with my brave Warlord (properly Iron-Arm’d up).  Though, when he attempted to cast Iron-Arm, he managed to peril’s, but luckily rode a warp surge to become a close combat nightmare (well, as terrifying as he could be given his limited number of attacks and the fact that he was fighting against single wound models).  Still, between the three units, I was able to kill off all of the plague marines and consolidate towards his hellbrute.

His Hellbrute seemed less terrifying to me because I had blown off his powerfist in an earlier round, so I just needed to get into combat with my Legion of the Damned and let that powerfist do some work…

Turn 3: Chaos

wh39kvAlbert (14)As it always seems to happen, my Terminators fell victim to the worst hand-to-hand unit on the board: allowing six attacks from cultists to punk them before I got a chance to attack back.  The good news is that over the previous three rounds of combat, I had somehow managed to kill off six of their number.

Stupid terminators…

Elsewhere, his Obliterators lined up for a shot on my flyers, which I managed to jink away all of the damage (except for one stray glancing hit).  I wasn’t so lucky with the Helldrake though, who swooped over and plucked the missile launcher out of my scout squadron and then proceeded to remove all traces of my combat squad on the other side of the board.  He did have a little help in that department from a nearby CSM squad though.

My lone Sternguard, who had fought bravely against a swarm of cultists finally gave up the battle and succumbed to the forces of chaos.  He will be missed…

Turn 4: Ultramarines

wh39kvAlbert (17)The obliterators had captured the attention of my flyers, who managed (with a little help from Tigurius’ rending ability) to barely do enough wounds to kill them off.  Elsewhere, random shots thinned out an occasional model here and there.

The main focus of this round was on the cultists and hellbrute over by my drop pod.  Between the Deathwind Launcher killing four cultists, some long range bolter fire killing a couple, and the scouts punking a few with bolt pistols before the charge, I had managed to thin them down to just 3-4 models before going in.  Those kind of odds are something I can get behind throwing scouts at (though somehow my Scouts managed to leave one alive… so not impressed).

My Legion of the damned and Tiggy got together and managed to strip another hullpoint off the Hellbrute, but both units would wind up tied up into Albert’s turn.

Turn 4: Chaos

wh39kvAlbert (21)The Helldrake vector struck my Razorback and wrecked it before flying off the table to reposition next turn.  The ultramarines disembarked in such a way as to avoid being shot at by his nearby CSM squad.

His one surviving Psyker was sitting on an objective in his deployment zone and finally managed to cast fireshield on himself.  This marked the first time he successfully cast a spell all game, as his Sanctic psyker died so quickly, and all of the powers on the Pyromancer were basically witchfires with really short ranges.  As a result, I got to throw all of my dispel dice at fire shield each turn, and this was the one time I didn’t manage to stop it.

Elsewhere, there was a small spattering of movement around the table: his other hellbrute had it’s lascannon stripped off, so it shambled over towards my units to try to make use of it’s one remaining weapon.  His remaining cultists on the other side of the board made their way around the building to harass my sniper scouts and try to contest that objective…

Turn 5: Ultramarines

wh39kvAlbert (22)In what could have been (and ultimately proved be) my final turn, I wanted to secure objectives in case the game ended.  In order to do so, I sent my flyers off to assassinate his psyker, which proved to be an easy task, and then did little else.  Knowing that his helldrake would be back soon, I tried to position any unit that could be wiped out by his warp flame in such a way that it would be difficult to kill everyone off the objective, or to position multiple units in such a way that they could each hold the objective.

My sniper scouts, though they would be faced with a flamer next turn, opted to move to hold the objective–rather than to kill the immediate threat.  It turns out that the flamer would still be barely out of range.

Turn 5: Chaos

The game wasn’t over yet, so Albert did what he could to take me off objectives.  He vector struck a LoTD (who finally got a save–and made it!) and then flamed a tactical squad to get them off the objective, but failed to wound one.  His CSM also destroyed most of my remaining combat squad on the other side of the board, leaving only one marine left to tell the tale.

At the end of the turn, we rolled for random game length and things ended there.

The Aftermath:

wh39kvAlbert (24)When totaling up the objectives, I was holding onto three while he only had one.  Due to the way the game was scored, I had earned 9 points for holding objectives, 2 points for killing off his heavy supports and three more for securing the secondary objectives for a total of 14.  Albert, on the other hand, earned three for holding an objective and one for linebreaker.  14:4 doesn’t seem like a very close game at all, but consider that he was threatening to take away an objective from my scouts (changes the score to 11:7).  Had he been able to kill another squad off an objective, that takes it to 8:7.

I honestly think this game was considerably closer than the score would indicate.

What I Learned:

  1. I’m rusty.  So rusty… I really need to play more and probably to go back and re-read through my rules a time or two.
  2. Legion of the Damned are relentless.  I didn’t fire my Plasma Cannon most of the game because he couldn’t snap shoot as he moved–then again, he didn’t need to either.
  3. Legion of the Damned are not good.  They’re not as bas as they seemed to be either–see the above comment about “relentless.”
  4. Death from the Skies is weird.  Given that Albert didn’t have a gun, it wasn’t in his interest to dog fight me, but I would’ve had a hard time killing his unit as well.  It’s just a very weird supplement.  Likewise, running my flyers in a formation of three was almost universally inferior to running them as separate units.
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