BatRep: Hive Fleet Proteus vs. Orks w/ Empyric Storm Cards (1487pts)

My goal has been to get in twelve games per year for basically as long as I’ve had this blog.  It’s not exactly an exciting goal, but it takes an extra level of effort above and beyond just casual gaming.  Well, this year I have been keeping up with the goal–at least so far, so with the end of March approaching, I scrambled to get in another game.  As luck would have it, we have a State holiday in March.

Not that I’m a state employee, or that I even get the day off, but I had some extra “use it or lose it” time accumulating, and opted to take off a day that coincided with Brandon’s day off.  We managed to throw down with a game of Silver Tower, and also a game of 40k.

Rabbit trail: I’m not sure why I never write about Silver Tower on the blog…  But this entry certainly isn’t going to be about that, it’s going to be about the battle report..

Hive Fleet Proteus

  • HQ:
    • Tervigon (Domininon, The Horror)
  • Elites:
    • 1x Hive Guard
    • 1x Hive Guard
    • 1x Pyrovore
  • Troops:
    • 15x Hormagaunts
    • 15x Hormagaunts
    • 1x Mucolid Spore
    • 1x Mucolid Spore
    • 1x Mucolid Spore
  • Heavy Support:
    • 1x Biovore
  • Fortifications
    • 2x Vengeance Weapon Batteries w/ Battle Cannons
  • Formations:
    • Neural Node:
      • Maleceptor (Dominion, Psychic Overload, Psychic Scream)
      • 3x Zoanthropes w/ Neurothrope (Dominion, Warp Blast, Spirit Leech, & the Horror)
      • 3x Zoanthropes w/ Neurothrope (Dominion, Warp Blast, Spirit Leech, & Psychic Scream)
      • 3x Zoanthropes w/ Neurothrope (Dominion, Warp Blast, Spirit Leech, & Onslaught)

We had decided in advance that we were going to play a game with the Battlezone: Empyric Storm cards as I had recently picked them up.  When we thumbed through them days earlier, it was pretty clear that the cards were pretty heavily psyker focused, so I had joked about making an army consisting entirely of Tyrants, Tervigons, Maleceptors, Zoanthropes, and Broodlords (running triple CAD, of course).    While that seemed like an interesting army that I would like to try sometime, I figured it wasn’t something I wanted to run this game.

So, the day before the game, I found myself flipping through the formations that I had never run before and came across the Neural Node.  It had a bunch of Zoanthropes (which I like), and they were all in squads of three (which Brandon also seems to like to convince me to play), so why not go with that?   Sadly, that ate up about half of my available points, so my actual CAD was fairly limited.

I knew I didn’t want to go with a flyrant, because that’s a crutch to ‘nid players.  Frankly speaking, Tervigons are the only halfway decent viable alternative (of course, I’ve run all of the other options, and will continue to do so, but Tervigon is the most solid secondary choice).   I included my now necessary Pyrovore (if anything, I’ll at least be the world’s foremost authority on why they suck), and some Hive Guard to help handle vehicles.  Well, that was after I decided not to include any Genestealers, so my troops were all fairly small and frail.   The Vengeance Weapons were based upon a quick search on my blog which seemed to indicate that the last time I’d used them was in late 2014–can that be right?

In the end, I had 85 points left, so I threw in a few mucolids and a biovore (always well worth his 40 points) and called it a day.

Brandon’s Ork Warband:

  • HQ:
    • Warboss w/ ‘Eavy Armour, Attack Squig, Bosspole, & Headwoppa’s Killchoppa
    • Painboy w/ Bosspole
    • Weirdboy (‘Ere We Go, Warpath, & Frazzle)
  • Troops:
    • 20x Shoota Boyz, w/ 2x Big Shoota inc. Boss Nob w/ Power Klaw & Boss Pole
    • 20x Shoota Boyz, w/ 2x Big Shoota inc. Boss Nob w/ Power Klaw & Boss Pole
    • 12x Boyz inc. Boss Nob w/ Power Klaw & Boss Pole in Trukk
    • 10x Tankbustas w/ 2x Bomb Squig, inc. Boss Nob
  • Fast Attack:
    • 4x Deffkoptas w/ 3x Twin-linked Rokkit-Launchas
    • 1x Blitza-bommer
  • Heavy Support:
    • 3x Killa Kanz w/ 3x Rokkit Launchas
    • 1x Deff Dread w/ Grot Riggers & Extra Armour
    • 1x Deff Dread w/ Grot Riggers & Extra Armour

This is fairly consistent with what an Ork army from Brandon looks like.  I’m sure there are variations here and there (for example, I don’t recall playing against a Bommer before), but when he fields his greenskins, his lists consist of what he has painted.  That means that I’m inevitably going to face a warboss, painboy and a weirdboy, and well, basically the rest of the stuff you see in this list.

He said he was toying with going with a Salamander list, but went green for some reason….  I don’t rightfully recall why.

Mission & Deployment:

We played an objective grabbing mission with diagonal deployment zones wherein each turn we drew three objectives.  We rolled off for deployment, and I won, opting for first turn, and remarking how very often I win that particular die roll.

I castled up in the corner, surrounding my vengeance batteries with as much ranged damage as I could, and putting smallish forces of ‘gaunts in the front.  I chose that corner of the board because it had relatively easy access to three objectives, and there were two more that would theoretically be achievable in the game–should they become necessary.  It also gave me somewhat clear lines of fire for the vengeance batteries.

Brandon countered by pushing his forces up to the line so they could get pressure ASAP.  I gave him kudos in his deployment because he didn’t opt to put the weirdboy (or any characters really) in the middle of his units.  That was a deliberate tactic to avoid having me single them out with a biovore shot (something that always seems to pluck out weirdboyz before they have a chance to do anything).

He failed to seize and I took the first turn.

Turn 1: Tyranids

Empyric Storm Effect: Bloodthirster summoned for Orks

The very first roll of the game involved us dicing off and Brandon getting a free greater demon of his choice to deploy anywhere on the table at least 9″ away from me.  Naturally, he put it in my back line and forced me to focus on it.  He opted for a bloodthirster because that’s what he had on hand, but didn’t give it any upgrades because he lost his demon codex, so it was just a stock ‘thirster (which is pretty awesome considering where he got to put it and that it cost him zero points).

Naturally, that became the focal point of my army.  While I wanted to fire at the Orks, the ‘thirster was clearly the more immediate threat.  I loaded up as many warp blasts as I could muster against him, but between some fair rolling on my part, and some pretty great saves on his, he lived into the shooting phase–and even then, the Hive Guard and Battle Cannons couldn’t take him down.  With two wounds left (and me literally not firing at anything else), he made it into the assault phase.

At that point, I could’ve charged him, but my Tervigon was the only unit I had holding that objective, which was going to score me D3 points if I held it.  So, I kept it and rolled a 1.  Oh well, at least I got another point for holding one of the other objectives…

Score: Tyranids 2 vs. Orks 0

Turn 1: Orks

Empyric Storm Effect: Increase the Warp Charge cost of all psychic powers by 1

As predicted, the Demon charged into my warlord, but much to my surprise, he largely whiffed on his attacks, managing a total of four wounds (two from assault, one from his whip on the charge in, and the other–well, that might also have been the assault–or maybe some random ork unit fired at him).

Brandon acted offended by this, but frankly, it couldn’t have worked out better.  Now his backline force was tied up in combat and I wouldn’t be able to shoot at him at all.

The other Ork units moved up and peppered things with fire.  I lost a large number of hormagaunts, and may have taken a stray wound here or there on something else, but I escaped the turn relatively unscathed.  Brandon’s objectives didn’t involve actually grabbing physical objectives, but rather making long runs or charges, so he exited the turn without scoring a point.

Score: Tyranids 2 vs. Orks 0

Turn 2: Tyranids

Empyric Storm Effect: Re-roll all hit rolls of 1’s.  Psykers/Demons re-roll all.

This is the point where I remembered that Tervigons can poop out gribblies, and that I really should’ve done that before I hit combat–that way I could’ve bubble-screened her.  Even if that didn’t work, at least I would’ve gotten the unit, right?  Heck, she could’ve charged that turn and maybe killed him off (or at least gotten an extra attack and a hammer of wrath hit) and used the gribblies to hold the objective.    With that in mind, I didn’t spawn again this turn either.  I think my mindset was that she couldn’t do it in combat (though I didn’t bother to look it up, clearly it says she can).

The storm effect really limited my ability to deal with things in shooting.  I wound up issuing a challenge with my Tervigon before she would inevitably be swallowed whole by the spawn of chaos–that way she would at least get me a victory point before she died.

But things don’t always work out the way that they seem.  Though the demon struck first and re-rolled misses, he also managed to roll zero 4+’s to wound me.  Even more impressive was that the Tervigon struck back with three attacks, wounded two of them and he failed both saves.

My tervigon defeated a bloodthirster in a challenge–unaided!  Better yet, she got me a victory point for that, and another for killing an enemy flying monstrous creature that turn.  I added a third point for holding an objective.

The rest of my forces really focused on a nearby unit of boys in a trukk.  We splatted the truck after entirely too much shooting, and then forced the boys to break under fire from the battle cannons–alleviating the most immediate threat on the board.

Score: Tyranids 5+1 vs. Orks 0

Turn 2: Orks

Empyric Storm Effect: Re-roll failed psychic tests and deny the witch rolls.

The Ork bommer came on, and the first wave of Orks wound up hitting my line.  It was not a good day to be one of the remaining 7 hormagaunts on that side of the table, as the characters in his large boyz squad (who had teleported forward on turn one–I forgot to mention) charged in and killed them to the man–er bug.

On the far side of the board, my other hormagaunts faired slightly better–as his dreadnoughts wound up shooting other targets instead of charging the gaunts.

In total, the turn didn’t consist of much more than advancing and putting pressure on me.  He failed to score objectives for a second turn, and wasn’t able to really do all that much damage.

Score: Tyranids 5+1 vs. Orks 0

Turn 3: Tyranids

Empyric Storm Effect: Night Fighting

With three neurothropes in my army, having the ability to re-roll failed psychic tests was fairly huge.  Each one could cast Spirit Leech with two dice, and then earn extra dice that I could use to load up warp blasts.  Though I wanted to try some extra shenangins this turn, I really lumped most (if not all) of my eggs into that combination of effects.  Between the three units, I managed to clear out a large enough hole around the warlord (who by this time was practically the front of the pack as far as the squad of boyz went).  Then, it was just a matter of pounding them with S10 warp blasts until he failed a “look out sir” roll.

Or, more to the point, until I had slaughtered every ork that was nearby, and he was forced to suck up the last hit on himself.  Even with the cover bonus granted by night-fighting, he wasn’t able to shirk off the fatal hit.

That scored me a single victory point for killing off an enemy unit, and another for slaying the warlord.

Score: Tyranids 6+2 vs. Orks 0

Turn 3: Orks

Empyric Storm Effect: Random Psyker rolls leadership or becomes spawn

By this turn, he had finally closed the distance between our armies and we collided into battle.  His Weirdboy managed to shake off the gift of spawn-dom offered by the fickle winds of the Empyric storm and then got off both of his spells: additional attacks and Force, which allowed him to charge in to threaten my warlord.  In fact, he proved to be S7 on the charge and have nearly the same damage output as the Bloodthirster!  The one thing he lacked was enough punch to ignore her armor though, so she lived to thump back–though she did no damage.

The powerklaw was enough to finish her off, and the remaining orks hid behind one of the vengeance batteries.

On the other side of the board, two dreadnoughts and the unit of koptas charged in and eradicated the poor unit of hormagaunts.  Sure, it was overkill, but he had several objectives wrapped up in clearing that unit and was willing to overcommit in order to ensure it happened this turn.

Between killing my Warlord and earning three victory points, Brandon’s first scoring turn was a doozy, and put him right back into the game.

Score: Tyranids 6+2 vs. Orks 3+1

Turn 4: Tyranids

Empyric Storm Effect: Random Psyker rolls leadership or becomes a prince

Randomly, one of my Zoanthropes was blessed as a demon prince, but the hive mind quickly put an end to that nonsense–allowing me to pass my leadership test (one of those few times where you really wish you’d failed it).

My Zoanthropes nuked both of his dreadnoughts, while my hive guard plinked away at the Weirdboy and his cohorts (killing two, but just not the powerklaw).  The Maleceptor unleashed a battery of psychic cacophony at the ork jetbikes, causing them to break and somehow flee outside of my deployment zone, thereby earning me three points for keeping my side of the board clear.  Meanwhile, I was trying to push forward to objective #1 (in the center of the coliseum ruin) to earn another point.

Score: Tyranids 9+2 vs. Orks 3+1

Turn 4: Orks

Empyric Storm Effect: All models -1 Leadership.  Psykers/Demons -2

Brandon was determined not to allow me to hold the coliseum, and focused fire on my smaller units to ensure they wouldn’t make it.  His one large units of boys had already been pulled out of the thick of the battle and back into his deployment zone so as to score earlier objectives, and kept getting incentivized to stay back.

He destroyed some of my mucolids in shooting (in total, the three mucolids only killed two orks during the entire game), and also a unit of Zoanthropes.  He wound up charging another, who survived amidst a flurry of warp field flashes.

He scored a point with his large unit of boys again, and another by rallying his koptas, and consolidating them barely into my deployment zone.

Score: Tyranids 9+2 vs. Orks 5+1

Turn 5: Tyranids

Empyric Storm Effect: Random Psyker manifests a power

By this point, I was down to five units, plus the two vengeance weapon batteries (I’m excluding the lone mucolid, who I stopped even bothering to move at this point).  My goal was to try to kill off the remaining killer kans and the koptas, figuring that the two battle cannons could manage to keep a large mob of boyz at bay.

The Kans proved to be the easier of the two options, and they cleared out with relative ease.  I just didn’t have enough to deal with the koptas though–leaving only the hive guard to plink away at them.

Of course, the Malceptor could’ve also joined in the fun, but I wound up having to use him to hold an objective, and get off a lovely psychic scream which easily dispatched with the boys clumped around the nearby Zoanthrope.  Elsehwhere in shooting, my Zoanthropes threw “the horror” at the tankbustas, who had lost their nob to a mucolid earlier in the game, and between the low leadership, -2 from the horror, and -1 from the Empyric storm, they turn-tailed and ran (eventually off the board completely).

That all earned me a single point for holding and objective marker with m Maleceptor.

Score: Tyranids 10+2 vs. Orks 5+1

Turn 5: Orks

Empyric Storm Effect: All psychic power ranges are doubled

For Empyric storm, we randomly selected a psyker (nearby Zoanthrope) to manifest a power.  It went off automatically, so I threw a double-range psychic scream from the Maleceptor hoping to kill (or at least break) the koptas.  Alas, they were steadfast with a snake-eyes roll.

Instead of sticking around, they flirted near 31″ away from the Hive Guard in the hopes of staying alive and earning Linebreaker at the end of the game.  The boys wound up easily dispatching with my Zoanthrope, and his Bommer circled around trying to find an easy victim (and coming up with nothing).

He did earn two points for kingslayer, and another for killing off a Zoanthrope in the shooting phase, bringing the game awful close.

Score: Tyranids 10+2 vs. Orks 8+1

Turn 6: Tyranids

Empyric Storm Effect: All models +1″ movement.  Psykers +3″

I wound up earning a point for completely destroying a unit during the shooting phase of my turn (in hindsight, I probably wound up shaking the last killer kan in the previous turn, and used this turn to finish him off), and another point for surging the Maleceptor forward and holding objective #1.

Sure, he couldn’t live, but he wound up getting me two objectives late in the game, so it felt like the right move.

Score: Tyranids 11+2 vs. Orks 8+1

Turn 6: Orks

Empyric Storm Effect: Friendly infantry unit can return 1 or d3 models

By this point, the Orks were down to three units:  the flyer, a big mob of boyz, and the koptas.  This meant that his turn was going pretty darn quickly.  He softened up my one remaining monstrous creature in shotoing and then charged him down.  Somehow I managed to live through to the powerklaw, but couldn’t make nearly enough 5+ saves to keep me alive against those S8 attacks.

This earned him points for killing both a psyker, and completely destroying a unit in the assault phase.  Hrmm, I guess charging in to earn one objective–only to give up two in return wasn’t such a great deal afterall?  But how could I have known what cards he was going to draw?

Score: Tyranids 11+2 vs. Orks 10+1

Turn 7: Tyranids

Empyric Storm Effect: All models gain 6+ invulnerable save

My last turn was ineffective–there was nothing really that I could shoot/kill, but I did manage to draw two objectives in recent turns that I was able to finally run over and claim.  That ended my game with a final score of 13+2.  But would it be enough?  Keep in mind, we don’t really track the score during the game, so it felt pretty close at this point.

Score: Tyranids 13+2 vs. Orks 10+1

Turn 7: Orks

Empyric Storm Effect:

In order to eek out some last minute points, he attempted some very long charges against my Hive Guard and actually made one.  We didn’t even bother to roll as 20ish boys should make short work of a single Hive Guard (who was already wounded).  That earned him one more victory point for defeating a unit in assault again, and he earned another for linebreaker.

As the smoke cleared, I wound up winning by two points.

Score: Tyranids 13+2 vs. Orks 11+2

The Aftermath:

I was happy with the way this game worked out.  I didn’t figure the “hunker-down” strategy of mine would work, but that all depends upon what objectives you draw.  Being able to pound on the orks based upon Brandon’s inability to put consistent pressure on me throughout the game was a big factor.

There was also quite a bit of luck involved.  I mean, in what world does a Bloodthirster charge into a wounded Tervigon and not kill it in two rounds of combat–and then get punked in the process?  Had even that one combat gone differently, that would’ve been a two point swing, as it would’ve earned him first blood instead of me,  making for a tie game.  And without her, who knows how the game would’ve played out differently.  Granted, she wasn’t a huge player in the game, but she did thin out a number of the Orks allowing me to gib his Warlord, and she distracted the Weirdboy for a turn as well.

I’m always more happy with a close game (win or lose) than a devastating blowout.  So, by that measure, this was a good game.

What I Learned:

  • Weirdboyz aren’t bad in combat.  He always seems to play them when I have biovores, and they’re such easy little victims that I single them out every time.  As a result, they don’t see combat all that much (in fact, I think this is the first one that lived that long).  He proved to be pretty impressive.  Well worth the 100 points…
  • Empyric Storm Cards are random.  I don’t know that you can say much more than that.  They’re truly random.  It helped that I played a lot of psykers, but practically we diced up about as many ANTI-psyker cards as we did PRO-psyker (more so, in fact).
  • Tervigons can spawn in combat!  Well, by the way I played, I just should just learn that Tervigons can spawn units at all.  Still, knowing they can spawn even in combat is a plus.
  • Neurothropes aren’t bad.  They’re not great, mind you, and I still think that–all things being equal–I’d prefer to run my Zoas in units of one.  Still, if you have to run them in units of three, having that extra power with which to syphon off dice is handy.  Heck, on turn 3 (when I was able to re-roll fails), I just went to town on the dice.  Each syphon generally netted me between 1-3 extra dice (after replacing the two dice I threw at the spell to cast it in the first place).  That wasn’t bad at all.
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