Seeing as our last game was a bit of an atrocity that lasted less than two turns, we pushed the reset button and tried the game again. We used the same armies and terrain, but mixed up the mission, deployment and, of course, strategies…
Chaos Space Marine Forces (Patrol Detachment)
- Kharn the Betrayer
- Chaos Lord w/ Powermaul & Bolt Pistol
- 10x Khorne Berserkers 2/ Chain Axes, Power Axe & 2x Plasma Pistols
- 10x Chaos Cultists w/ Autoguns
- Heavy Support:
- Chaos Land Raider w/ Combi-plasma
There’s not a lot to say about this list that I haven’t said already.
So I won’t.
Hive Fleet Proteus (Outrider Detachment)
- Old One Eye
- 10x Hormagaunts
- 3x Ripper Swarms w/ Spinefists
- Fast Attack:
- 3x Shrikes w/ Rending Claws & Spinefists
- 3x Shrikes w/ Scything Talons & Spinefists
- 3x Raveners w/ Rending Claws & Spinefists
- Heavy Support:
- Trygon Prime w/ Biostatic Rattle & Adrenal Glands
- 2x Carnifex w/ Scything Talons & Bone Mace
Unlike last game, I actually included my squad of raveners this time on the field. Everything else was the same mentality… I can’t elaborate too much more on the list because I didn’t tweak anything between the games.
Mission & Deployment:
You kill me; I kill you. Who needs rules?
We earned points for each unit killed, plus additional points for the triad (Warlord, Linebreaker, First Blood). I won the roll for deployment and took the side I was already on (though his side had better cover–I figured I’d already won once, and the difference was negligible. Plus, that would mean I’d have to move all of the way over there…) He had fewer units, so finished setting up first and took the first turn.
This time, I opted not to try to seize. This was because I was unlikely to make charges from where I stood originally, so I let him move towards me to start the game.
Turn 1: Forces of Chaos
Since our lists aren’t fundamentally different than the last game (aside from the fact that I remembered to include my Raveners this time), the basic strategies of our armies were pretty similar. Fundamentally, we both were running assault forces, so we spent the game trying to get into assault with each other.
Of course, we learned some things from the previous game, so he opted not to deploy everything inside the land raider. I understand the use of caution, but maybe the better solution was to leave them in the raider, and just not position it in such a way that it could be completely surrounded. Whatever the case, he instead deployed all of his good units on foot and instead filled the raider with his cultists.
The raider started off by shooting into my carnifexes who, despite being hidden behind some warriors, didn’t receive a cover save (that’s going to take a little getting used to). My fears aside, he managed to do just a couple of wounds.
The rest of the models shimmied forward towards my line, and he passed the turn…
Score – Chaos: 0 vs Tyranids: 0
Turn 1: Tyranids
Because of the new style deployment, and the fact that he didn’t deploy as far forward as possible, a first turn charge from me was going to be highly unlikely. Instead, I moved forward, running where possible, and tried to keep models fairly close together.
My Trygon showed up in the back line as a repeat of the last game and plinked away at a few models, doing almost no damage. In short, I had a pretty uneventful turn, where units surged forward to setup a charge next turn.
I’d just have to survive a shooting phase (which isn’t so daunting when facing an assault based army), and then maybe a charge of his own.
Score – Chaos: 0 vs Tyranids: 0
Turn 2: Forces of Chaos
Still scoreless at the beginning of turn two, Mitch opted to turn around with his super-unit and charge the Trygon. The Land raider spirited to the side of the board to take pot shots from an area where he was really only worried about a charge from medium sized bugs.
As for his deathstar, it pulled a hard U-turn and fired shots into my Trygon. His plasma pistols were pretty successful, scoring a wound or two without fear of overheating, and then he opted to charge first with his Chaos Lord.
I don’t know what the mindset was, but he was very adamant about not charging with the berserkers first (maybe a holdover from the previous edition wherein models were forced to move as far as possible, and they might have boxed out the characters?). Whatever the case, he declared a charge with his Lord and then failed it. Lucky for him I rolled poorly for snapshots.
He did opt to charge with Kharn next, which resulted in me putting on two unsaved wounds on his Warlord before he rolled in with his berserkers, and failed the charge!
He did have a banner that allowed him to re-roll, and they faired better the second time (it only took a 4-5″ charge to make it).
In assault, Kharn struck first and peeled a few wounds off of me, and then he informed me that every model in the berseker unit had S6 and wound be able to activate twice during the assault phase. At that point, I blew the requisite two CP’s to activate my Trygon out of sequence and used him to punk Kharn. I did three wounding hits, two of which he saved on his field, and the final one did six wounds to take him out. He had chosen the +1 Attack warlord trait, so that left him a fetid corpse, and earned me first blood and slay the warlord.
The victory was tainted by the fact that the Trygon and the ‘gaunts were decimated in the ensuing combat…
Score – Chaos: 2 vs Tyranids: 1+2
Turn 2: Tyranids
I was feeling the flaw of my list at this point. In this particular mission, it was all about killing off units, and I not only had more units on the table, but they were also more fragile than my opponent’s. To further complicate things, I had almost no shooting in my army (certainly none with longer range than 12″). Granted, he didn’t have much, but that Land Raider could theoretically plink off a unit per turn.
The land raider then was my strategy. I had to do what I could to kill it off, and fast.
With that in mind, and the notion that I wanted to keep my army grouped together (for the eventual charge of his berserkers), I shifted my army to the left and lined up for a charge there. Before that, I grouped up the two units of shrikes and mowed down the chaos cultists for my final “easy” victory point.
Back to the Land Raider: only my raveners really stood a chance to hit the vehicle, but they took HEAVY casualties on the charge. If all hits were rolled at the same time, then I suppose I might have been able to save another model, but Mitch rolled them one at a time, so the wounds applied in the order they were rolled. That meant the first low wound roll had to be applied to the already wounded model (killing him) and then the higher wound roll killed a second one.
Charging a snapshooting land raider is a bit terrifying.
Somehow, the nearby Carnifex also pulled off a 10″ charge as well. The downside is that they only managed to scratch the ‘raider, but Mitch reminded me that all I really had to do was make the charge. Since the new assault rules didn’t allow it to shoot after falling back (after all, it can’t “fly”), just hitting the first charge was basically enough to ensure that I would be in combat with it forever–barring some unlucky rolls.
Granted, it could walk out of combat, and even “advance,” but it had to get at least as far as my movement plus whatever charge range I rolled. So, I didn’t have to kill it, I just had to get into combat!
Score – Chaos: 2 vs Tyranids: 2+2
Turn 3: Forces of Chaos
Turn three turned out to be uneventful for our boys in grey (I’d say red because they’re Khorne marines, but let’s face it–they’re definitely grey).
As predicted, the Land Raider scurried back away from me. There was some debate as to whether he should skirt the outside of the board or move in to the center of his army. He chose the former because our conversation really revolved around me wanting to keep my units together. If I wanted to keep them together, then he naturally decided that it was in his best interest to spread out in an attempt to get me to split mine up.
I’m not sure if that logic holds up though. Yes, splitting me up was to my detriment, but is it more important to cause your opponent to play to his weakness, or to cause yourself to play to your own strengths?
But he’d made his choice and skirted the edge of the board. The other unit moved forward, but all failed their charges (well, once the marines did, the Lord wanted no part in the charge), so he passed his turn having done very little.
Score – Chaos: 2 vs Tyranids: 2+2
Turn 3: Tyranids
The center of the board was enveloped with as large a multi-assault as I could pull off. Old One Eye, being in the back, failed to be in range again to make a reasonable charge attempt, so instead he just advanced forward to give a bubble to that carnifex. The shrikes grouped up and peppered the marines with some firepower, doing a little damage before charging in.
I figured I would take some heavy casualties, but due to some poor armor rolls on his part, I managed to kill off all of the berserkers before he had a chance to strike back (twice). That left the only model in the center of the board as his Chaos Lord. Armed with only a power maul, that does a single wound per hit, I wound up charging him with my rippers–who honestly did little more than tie him up. Sure, he was hitting on a 2+ with a re-roll, but with four attacks per turn, he couldn’t do more than kill one base at a time.
On the other side of the board, I wound up boxing him in. I’ll describe that in the next turn though…
Score – Chaos: 2 vs Tyranids: 3+2
Turn 4: Forces of Chaos
With the raider perched on the edge of the board, and the terrain rules indicating that he could not move through walls, I pulled some shenanigans similar to what I’d done in the previous game. This time my Carnifex braved the first charge and lived through the lascannon volley, and then my ravener, who had moved as far as possible into the ruin, charged the side of the vehicle–but not so much that it was in base to base contact. That way, when it came time to Pile in, I was able to complete my shenanigans.
Pile in says “You may move each model in the unit up to 3″ – this move can be in any direction so long as the model ends the move closer to the nearest enemy model.”
This allowed me to move to the front of the vehicle, in base to base contact. I moved farther down the vehicle’s hull, but ended the move closer to the vehicle than I had started. The advantage here was that, in the ensuing movement phase (assuming that I couldn’t destroy it in my assault), it would be unable to move, being trapped between the edge of the board, a terrain feature, and my own models.
Yes, it has a number of high strength attacks, but they don’t hit much, do a single wound each, and I still get my armor save. All in all, not very terrifying in assault. And that’s what happened. He managed to plink a wound on my ravener (he figured that would die faster than the carnifex, and he might eventually escape), and I did a couple of wounds to the raider.
Score – Chaos: 2 vs Tyranids: 3+2
At that point in the game, he wound up conceding. He had only two models alive, and it seemed to him only a matter of time for them to die. I could charge his lord with a carnie (or old one eye), and that should dispatch him nicely, then everything else could either pepper him with fire, or charge the land raider to beat it into a hasty demise.
Given the rules of the game, by conceding, I automatically won. I’ve just updated the score below to indicate that I killed two more units and received line breaker.
Score – Chaos: 2 vs Tyranids: 5+3
What I Learned:
- Charging a snapshooting land raider is a bit terrifying. Granted, he’s only hitting on 6’s, but that’s a lot of shots–and the potential for a ton of damage since each lascannon is
- Being obscured from LoS probably does not equal cover. It does for some units (non infantry) in some kinds of terrain (woods & ruins). Being obscured by anything else–including other models–provides no benefit.
- You can’t live in your fears. I was trying to protect my warlord by hiding him behind other models. Sure, that gives him a screen to protect against assault, but it doesn’t help against shooting (and frankly, I want him in assaults for the most part). He was out of position for most of the game because of this, and derived very little benefit for doing so. This is something I’m going to have to learn.
- You can block models in. You don’t have to necessarily surround it with your own models (as I learned last game), but you can also use things like ruins to block (non-infantry) models from walking out of assault. That’s a disadvantage that I hadn’t thought of, particularly for large models like land raiders.
- Keeping characters in the center of a unit causes issues. When moving around his block of models with a character, and trying to protect that character from potential erupting Trygons, he had no small level of difficulty moving them around. Since characters aren’t part of the unit, you can’t just surround him and move the surrounding models (unless you leave a big enough gap to move his base through). It makes it harder to plan out moves.