When a friend comes in from out of town and goes to the trouble of bringing his army with him, you are obliged to play some 40k. Obligation is not the right term because I really like playing with Cole and I frankly don’t play enough 40k as of late (darn you, board games). He opted to bring a friend out to my place so we could throw down in a doubles match, so I drafted up Brandon and we set to making our lists…
Hive Fleet Proteus
- 10x Tervigons (summoned)
- 15x Genestealers
- Heavy Support:
- Trygon Prime
- 2x Carnifex w/ Scything Talons, Crushing Claws, & Bioplasma
- 2x Carnifex w/ Scything Talons & Bioplasma
- 2x Carnifex w/ Devourers & Brainleech Worms
- 2x Carnifex w/ Devourers & Brainleech Worms
I wanted to keep the points relatively low in order to make the game go quickly, but wanted to make some consolation to Cole who seemed to want to play more than 50 points per player, so we bumped it up to 55 points. Rather than fielding a disjointed marine & bug force, Brandon just decided to play some of my Tyranids. We batted around the idea of Old One Eye + 8 Carnifexes and when we mathed out that it came to exactly 55 points, he had his army (he just needed to go to the garage and play dress up to figure out how to arm them).
I toyed with a couple of ideas, but eventually settled on the “all deep strike” list; however, we had to combine forces to make that work for us when I remembered I couldn’t simply deep strike my entire army.
Grey Knights & Custodes
- 5x GK Strike Squad w/ Psycannon & 1x Hammer
- 5x GK Strike Squad w/ Psycannon
- 5x Terminator Squad w/ 2x Hammers & 1x Psycannon
- 10x Adeptus Custodian Guard w/ Blades & Shields inc. Custodes Vexilla
- 10x Adeptus Custodian Guard w/ Spears
Cole got largely out of 40k years back and he even left the state, so I don’t play him much for obvious reasons. He did make it back in town though, and brought his Grey Knights (and some renewed interest in the game). His list was, well, I guess normal enough. I can’t say it was standard for him anymore, because I don’t recall what that looks like. He did make use of the only new “model” in the codex (the grandmaster) and otherwise, just put a bunch of Grey Knights on the board.
His friend George also showed up and brought with him Adeptus Custodes. I’d never faced them before, but they didn’t seem overly intimidating (I mean, 20 models for 55 power doesn’t terrify me).
Mission & Deployment:
For mission, we rolled up Deadlock (the one where CP’s go up in price after turn 2), and deployment was along the short board edges. Weirdly, Brandon and George had setup the objectives heavy on one side. I find myself always trying to balance the objectives out, but I suppose there’s a legitimate strategy in going heavy to one side or the other. As luck would have it, we won the dice roll and got to start out with the objectives on our side.
The Custodes anchored the center of their line, flanked on the right by a small contingent of Grey Knights, with the rest of them opting to deploy in reserve. Our board was just a string of carnifexes, awaiting my deep strikers.
We failed to seize the initiative and the Imperials took the first turn.
Turn 1: Imperials
It’s always great when you start out with victory points for things that you don’t actually have to accomplish. Their two objectives this turn were to get out of their deployment zone (which was easy because they were right up against the line and were already planning on doing) and to ensure that we had no models in the center of the table. Since we didn’t have the option to start in the center, that made for some easy points for them.
They brought in all of their reserves and bolstered the side of the table that already had Grey Knights on it. I thought this was a questionable move myself, but I think Cole’s mindset was that his brother captain was there and he acts as a force multiplier, so why not put them all together?
They did throw a bunch of long range firepower (including 24″ smites and a bunch of psycannons) into a couple of Carnifexes, killing one (thereby earning first blood) and also crippling the other.
Score: Imperials: 4+1 – Tyranids: 0
Turn 1: Tyranids
Wanting nothing to do with that firepower, the carnifex horde shifted around the far side of the Fortress of Redemption, sheltering themselves from the rain of bullets. Two carnies were bold enough to stride forward in order to hold a couple of objectives and earn us some victory points. Sure, they’d wind up paying the price for doing so, but it seemed worth the points.
For reserves, I opted to put a single Mawloc down this turn. My thinking was that, yes, the units were never going to be more bunched up then they were right now, but I don’t know that the Mawlocs fundamentally do much for me on the table. I’d rather have them in reserve to hold objectives and the like later.
I did deploy the one, but not because it was going to be devastating, rather because I wanted to distract them from our forces. I figured that if I put a Mawloc in their backfield, they might be persuaded to throw something at it, and that would separate their forces a bit. I hadn’t planned on actually doing five wounds, including killing a storm shield custodes outright.
Score: Imperials: 4+1 – Tyranids: 4
Turn 2: Imperials
This left Cole & George in decision mode. At this point, they could hop the Grandmaster & a single squad of Custodes forward and start whittling down carnies. The problem in their mind was that there were just so many of them (I believe there were six on that side of the table). Surely they could kill some in between shooting and charging, but then how would they fair against the counter-charge? The fact that they had to hold an objective right there would’ve been enough to sway my judgement and take the charge, but they opted instead to play it safe.
Instead, they swung their forces around the fortress, running away from us. Their choice was to effectively keep dwindling our numbers via shooting before planning the charge.
While they did cause more damage in shooting (and killed at least another carnifex, plus the Mawloc), they didn’t score any objectives, which proved to be painful. In Deadlock, you start with 6 objectives and draw up to one less each turn. For that reason, you need to keep claiming objectives because once you fall behind, it really starts to hurt.
Score: Imperials: 4+1 – Tyranids: 4
Turn 2: Tyranids
Our second turn involved more of the same. The carnies kept chasing the custodes around the metaphorical mulberry bush, but not doing much else. I again opted to drop a single Mawloc from reserves, for much the same reason, but I also brought down the Tervigon as well.
The Tervigon was able to stretch out, allowing her Tyrranocyte to hold objective #6, and spawning gaunts to help hold objective #1, along with a Carnifex.
The Mawloc’s job was to take heat off that carnifex, and suck up smites. He did a little damage and helped us to kill our first unit (a five man strike squad), but he really didn’t do more than that before dying to an inevitable charge on the next turn.
But maybe his sacrifice would be enough to allow the gaunts and/or carnifex to defend their objective and earn us some more points?
Score: Imperials: 4+1 – Tyranids: 7
Turn 3: Imperials
That might seem like an odd choice, but I also haven’t mentioned that he was rolling perils entirely too often. By this point in the game, he’d rolled three perils checks (a combination of 2’s and 12’s), and figured it wasn’t worth risking it as the Mawloc would surely die in assault anyway.
The question was whether the shooting was enough to take out the Carnifex and the ‘gaunts in the same round. Spoiler alert: it was more than enough.
The plus side though was that the Mawloc and that carnifex basically tied up the entire army of our opponents, and distracted them enough so that, while we didn’t score anything, neither did they. To be fair, two of their objectives involved killing characters, both of which we were keeping away from their lines. Still, objective denial and distraction were the tools we had, so I was making the most of them.
Score: Imperials: 4+1 – Tyranids: 7
Turn 3: Tyranids
My Tervigon retreated back and replenished her wall of gribblies in front of her, trying to keep them from being able to slay the warlord, while the line of carnifexes kept chasing the Custodes around the major terrain feature.
Despite having +1 to the charge, and also spending the last of our CP’s on a re-roll for the ‘stealers, neither of my units made the charge against the terminators, so we were content to earn our one victory point and pass the turn.
Score: Imperials: 4+1 – Tyranids: 8
Turn 4: Imperials
Figuring this game was lost, the Imperials opted to finally test the mettle of the Carnifexes. Between shooting from their entire army, and charges by the grandmaster and both units of Custodes, they managed to kill four Carnies that turn, leaving Brandon with just one model left on the table. Killing a character also earned them a victory point, but not another card.
He also manged to fail two more perils tests, giving him a running average of 5/14 or 36% of attempts ended in a perils–and never once was he within my Shadow of the Warp range for that. I was also pretty solid about denying his psychic tests each round (or at least one of them at least)–but then again, he was returning that favor pretty consistently.
Score: Imperials: 5+1 – Tyranids: 8
Turn 4: Tyranids
In hindsight, that was a tactical blunder, as it would give our opponents extra movement (in the form of charges & consolidations) towards our Warlord. He would’ve been better off running in the opposite direction, or just standing his ground to block forward progress for large squads.
On the other side of the board, my Trygon surged forward, but failed another charge, but the genestealers proved far more accurate. Despite only making 5″ on a 3″ charge, I was able to shuffle them all around to get them all attacks in combat. That resulted in four out of five dead terminators, and we picked up another victory point with the Tyrannocyte to widen the lead, if only slightly.
Score: Imperials: 5+1 – Tyranids: 9
Turn 5: Imperials
For the Imperial turn, the army came crashing down on the last remaining carnifex and made short work of him. They weren’t able to touch the ‘gaunts or our warlord (despite trying to in shooting, and only doing a single wound to her).
The Grey Knights were more successful, destroying most of my ‘stealers in combat and weathering most of the damage themselves. Of course, it helped that they were joined by the Apothecary and Brother Captain.
In a twist of fate, we earned a point for defending an objective in their turn. Meanwhile, they had to defend objective #3, which they now had completely surrounded, but they had opted to spread out around it in such a fashion that nobody was within 3″ of it, leaving them scoreless for yet another turn.
Score: Imperials: 5+1 – Tyranids: 11
Turn 5: Tyranids
I wound up giving up control of the gaunts, Tervigon & drop pod to Brandon, and focused on the Genestealers and Trygon. The ‘stealers shrunk back from combat and snuck over to hold an objective. They might have helped in combat, but I figured four ‘stealers would be better off scoring a point than maybe helping in assault–besides, I had a Trygon to help mop things up.
The Trygon charged the Apothecary and Brother captain to mixed results. He wound up doing enough hits to both models to kill them, but rolled sub-optimally on wounds (10 wounds to the Apothecary was more than enough, but one wound to a Brother Captain with two remaining wounds was not ideal). He paid a bit of a price on that too, taking a licking of his own.
Still, between the ‘stealers and the gaunts, we managed to hold two objectives and score our last two points of the game.
Score: Imperials: 5+1 – Tyranids: 13
Turn 6: Imperials
After random game length postponed for another turn, our Tervigon was finally caught in assault. Despite being woefully outclassed by the Grandmaster, she somehow lived–and, better yet, she handed out a little butt-whooping of her own. It wasn’t enough to kill the grandmaster outright, but it made him think twice about combat with the big bug in the future.
The charge did, however, get his warlord into our deployment zone and earned him a point for “Behind enemy lines” (and what would eventually become linebreaker).
Score: Imperials: 6+2 – Tyranids: 13
Turn 6: Tyranids
Our final turn was ineffective, with nothing more to accomplish, and a battered force running from our opponent, the random game length came to a close. The Imperials did earn linebreaker, but that proved insufficient to eek out a win.
Score: Imperials: 6+3 – Tyranids: 13
What I Learned:
- You have to reserve points for summing ‘gants. Yes, I’ve known that in the past, and I did it for this game, but in my last game against Brandon, I’m pretty sure I overlooked this. Oops, sorry Brandon.
- Grey Knights are good. Throwing out smites, and having everyone in the army doing multiple wounds and ignoring armor saves is a pretty big deal.
- I’m on the fence about custodes. They really didn’t do much this game, so I can’t really judge them. They were fine when it came down to combat, but until then, they really didn’t do much. I’d say the Storm Shield ones are the way to go for sure.
- Tactics are huge. I’m really happy with how the Mawlocs did, and I credit them with winning this game. Of course, there were a number of factors involved, but I really like the tactical flexibility of holding reserves until you need them. Though the Mawlocs didn’t do much (Except die), I feel that they had a much large impact on the overall game. Cole attributed the lost more to the objectives that he drew, but I’d argue that they were far more achievable, had he used his reserves more tactically. They could’ve come down elsewhere and put pressure on my warlord (or on Old One Eye). Though it’s really had to be sure about what caused what though…
- I should play 40k more. I enjoy it, but it doesn’t see the table enough. Dare I say, but it might be time to actually venture out into the wild to find more fresh meat for the gaming group.