This week for game night, all of our regulars that don’t play 40k confirmed they weren’t going to make it, so we were able to schedule up a 40k evening. Unfortunately, we just had three players show up, but we managed to make it work with a little two vs. one battle.
Sam’s Imperial Fists
- Chaplain w/ Bolt Pistol & Jump Pack (warlord)
- Fast Attack:
- 10x Assault Marines w/ 2x Plasma Pistols & Powerfist
- 1x Landspeeder w/ Assault Cannon & Heavy Bolter
- 1x Landspeeder w/ Assault Cannon & Heavy Bolter
- 1x Landspeeder w/ Assault Cannon & Heavy Bolter
- 1x Stormraven Gunship w/ Multi-Melta, Assault Cannons, & Hurricane Bolters
Sam and I wanted to mix things up with team options, and try some list ideas neither of us had ever worked with. Sam had made an 80 power list when he came over, with the intent of playing a bunch of heavy bolters & assault cannons, supplemented with Assault marines. Basically, he was fielding the sorts of things that he never plays with. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that these few models comprised half of our army…
- Venerable Dreadnought w/ Storm Bolter, Assault Cannon, & Powerfist
- Venerable Dreadnought w/ Missile Launcher & Twin-Lascannon
- Ironclad Dreadnought
- Fast Attack:
- 3x Space Marine Bikes w/ 2x Plasma Gun & 1x Power Sword (not pictured)
- Heavy Support:
- Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought w/ 2x Kheres Assault Cannon
- Infernum Pattern Razorback (Multi-Melta)
- Las/Plas Razorback
Things are a little screwy with my force here because of two things. First, I don’t play marines much and didn’t realize that you can’t put a dreadnought in a pod by default. According to Sam, you now have to buy a special pod from Forgeworld to do this, so I swapped them out for three bikes at the last minute. Additionally, I have the forgeworld kits to make razorbacks into las/plas variants, but I don’t know how much power they are suppose to be, so I just paid the same price as a single MM razorback, so I might not be 100% accurate on power level here.
Like Sam, I threw caution to the wind and forsook (is that a word) troops altogether. We wanted to try to design lists that couldn’t abuse command points, so I went with a dreadnought heavy list (though, for some reason, I completely ignored strategems–apparently there is one that incentivizes you to play with lots of dreads).
- 5x Praetorians
- 1x Stalker
- 20x Warriors
- 20x Warriors
- 5x Lychguard
- 5x Deathmarks
- Fast Attack:
- 3x Wraiths
- 10x Scarabs
- 3x Tomb Blades
- 1x Destroyer
- Heavy Support:
- 1x Annihilation Barge
- Doom Scythe
I don’t think Albert has ever played his Necrons. In fact, I’m pretty sure he just assembled most of them prior to the game, so we knew he didn’t have all that much experience with them. With that in mind, he just played largely what he had (though I believe he actually owned 160ish in power level, and weeded out the things he didn’t want to play with). That’s how we set the odd starting point of 124 power.
In total, it was the first time Sam or I had faced Necrons in 8th edition, so we didn’t exactly know what to expect. I had squared off with Cole’s Necrons back in 7th on multiple occasions, so I had some preconceived notions of what to be terrified of: Wraiths definitely topped the list–but more on that later.
Mission & Deployment:
For mission, we opted to go with something a little crazy. I like the idea of Albert having some sort of all-consuming Necron force surrounding us, akin to a previous mission I played with Simon out of the old Battle Missions book. Sam recalled that there were some more missions in the back of the book, and we wound up playing the Cities of Death variant called “Fire Sweep.”
Basically, we marked six buildings as objectives and had to hold them at the end of the game. We didn’t go into too much detail about some of the rules (it wasn’t clearly explained within the mission) so we made some assumptions:
- The mission said that you had to hold the building. Based upon other matched play missions, we assumed that meant that you had to have more models there than the opponent in order to hold it at the last turn of the game.
- It said “building” and not “objective.” Though you marked each building with an objective marker, the mission exclusively referred to the building and not the objective. For this reason, we said that you didn’t have to be within 3″ of the objective marker–as you normally would. Instead, any model that occupied a building counted as scoring for that building.
Albert chose the side with the tall building and clear lines of sight, and we set up opposite from him. I don’t feel like we had any definable rationale or plan for setup (Sam and I agreed during army composition that we were on the same team, but we were independent and not supposed to play as one army–rather two armies who could make their own choices as to what to do). Fundamentally that is the weaker option, but Albert has historically not had the best win/loss ratio, and a little animosity between teammates can sometimes be fun. We won the roll for first turn, and Albert failed to seize.
Turn 1: Space Marines
Before the game I had identified the units in Albert’s army that were crazy in the previous edition and the ones that I didn’t want to face. I said jokingly to Sam that he had to deal with them, so he filed that away as his priority targets. He’s an interesting character that often embodies the term “YOLO.”
For those of you who aren’t 12, YOLO is an abbreviation for “you only live once,” and is often used as a justification for doing crazy things. Sam can be a fairly brilliant strategist, but also has a penchant for doing something crazy. Once it gets in his head, it rarely gets corrected. You’ll definitely see some of that in this battle report.
His speeders shot around the corner and killed off a squad of immortals, plus wounded another. His assault marines, meanwhile, hopped forward and did a fairly poor job on the scarabs (though, they’re assault marines, what more can you ask for?). His Stormraven was more successful, wounding a bunch of models–though not killing off any entire squads.
My shooting was about as successful. My contemptor was my first shot, erradicating an entire squad of Tomb Blades before they got to do anything (they weren’t a target priority to me, but they were about the only thing in his line of sight that was worthwhile to kill). Otherwise, I helped thin out some Praetorians, and learned quickly what quantum shielding does now after sniping his Annihilation Barge with a 6 wound Multi-Melta shot that somehow did nothing.
We got “first blood,” though I don’t think the mission calls for that. At least it was a moral victory.
Turn 1: Necrons:
Albert’s over-all strategy here seemed to be to surge forward. We weren’t sure this was the best move overall, but he did make some clever moves–including walking his scarabs out of combat in order to shoot up the assault squad (which he did remarkably well, killing all but two of them).
He also could’ve managed to get at least some units to snipe Sam’s warlord–which I’m pretty sure I would’ve done: you just generally want to kill characters. The thing is, I’m not sure he didn’t make the right move. Sure, killing the warlord is good, but Sam’s chaplain wasn’t overly impressive. He was just a guy in power armor with a crozius. Spending the time killing assault marines might have been the right answer after all.
Sam’s landspeeders were fairly well decimated. Two of them were completely destroyed and another reduced to half wounds engaged in combat with wraiths.
Though Sam had deployed behind me, all of his stuff was fast, so he hopped in front of me and bore the brunt of Albert’s attacks. As a result, I survived the turn almost completely unscathed (I think I took two wounds on one of the Razorbacks).
Turn 2: Space Marines
Sam cried no joy and bugged out with almost everything he had. His assault marines and warlord hopped into his flyer, who abruptly took a hard right and shot up some metallic men. He managed to kill off another squad of immortals, cripple the Doom Scythe, and thin out a few warriors. His only other unit on the board, a lone speeder, bugged out of combat with the wraiths and tried to hide behind my lines.
Not being one to engage with an entire army on one front, I bugged out too, pivoting off that flank to try to thin out the incoming tide with firepower. I managed to plink off the last of the praetorians, the annihilation barge, the destroyer, and the doom scythe, and severely thinned out the scarabs (Ironclads eat them for lunch). I was surprised though that they had such high leaderships–as I was used to Necrons crumbling when you get into assault due to breaking and running, which no longer seems to be the case.
Turn 2: Necrons:
Cities of death has a strategem called “Death in the Streets,” that is vaguely worded in the strategm itself. It may be more clearly worded elsewhere, but we didn’t bother to read it. It says:
“This strategem be used when a unit with a Height Advantage shoots an enemy unit that is entirely at street level and not in cover. You can re-roll all failed hit and wound rolls when resolving shots at that enemy unit.”
The question is what is a “Height Advantage?” In hindsight, it does spell that rule out in the book:
A model gains a Height Advantage whilest occupying the upper levels of a city ruin and shooting at a unit that is either at street level or within a lower level of city ruins.” To gain a Height Advantage, every model in the target unit must be on levels that are 3″ or more below that of the firing model. If a model shoots with a Height Advantage, the target does not receive any of the benefits for being in cover.”
We ruled generally along those lines. We said that flyers always have height advantage on ground targets (though didn’t know the rule also granted immunity to cover saves), that’s pretty clear. But how do you determine if you have height advantage over a flyer? Maybe the rule should be that you should be higher than it appears to be on it’s base?
We let Albert use the rule (even encouraged him to do so) on a flyer, by having everyone in his unit on at least the same level as the flyer. Maybe he should’ve only been able to do that with half his squad?
Whatever the case, between the two squads of warriors, he felled the flyer, and deposited the sparse assault marines behind enemy lines.
Meanwhile, his Wraiths charged and killed the last remaining speeder and consolidated into the dreadnought (which turned out to be a mistake).
Turn 3: Space Marines
Sam entered full YOLO mode, pushing his chaplain and all two remaining assault marines into combat with 20 necrons. He did so in a way that prevented the characters from performing a heroic intervention though, so that was at least positive. It did mean that I wouldn’t be able to shoot that squad anymore, but realistically, that wasn’t likely to happen this turn anyway, as I had other targets I needed to deal with.
The Ironclad pushed into the Stalker and destroyed it handily, while the last Wraith died to one of my venerables. The Snipers had come down the previous turn and I was doing my best to thin them out with bikes and the Kheres cannons, but making little headway due to their 2+ saves.
Sam’s warlord managed to somehow survive the overwatch, and both he and an assault marine lived through a round of combat as well, proving that miracles do happen.
Turn 3: Necrons:
Albert hasn’t played many games of shenanigans with assault. As a result, he was spawning more models into combat with the warlord, thereby blocking his characters from reaching combat themselves. This lead to the little chaplain that could, systematically holding back a neverending tide of reanimating warriors.
The rest of his force was largely decimated at this point, so the mission became about getting his warriors into range to actually do something, playing positioning games. Because of this, the warriors perched in the high tower started shuffling down so they could move forward and play a role in the game.
Turn 4: Space Marines
As much as Albert’s game was about getting him into range, mine became about keeping him out of it. The problem was that I couldn’t do so because my range (24″) was identical to his. My Ironclad did the noble thing and charged Imotek, doing multiple wounds and slaying him before the command point re-roll crackled his energy field into full strength. Sadly, the Ironclad proved to be less durable than I’d hoped (he only had three remaining wounds when he entered the battle), and Imotek proved the stronger of the two combatants.
Turn 4: Necrons:
Again with the implacable advance of the warriors. More impressive though was the fact that the little chaplain was bravely staving off an entire squad of warriors. In fact, he was even whittling them down. It was slow progress, but he was slowly draining their numbers.
Turn 5: Space Marines
At this point, I found myself thinking about objectives. I held three buildings in my deployment zone and he held two in his. I wasn’t about to kill off the 40 warriors and three characters that were doing this, so I needed to focus my attention on the snipers on my right flank. Albert had cleverly positioned them complete out of line of sight, but I was still able to charge them with the bikes.
The down side was that I was able to trade models one for one, but he had five models that periodically stand back up and I only had three in my squad. This was a losing proposition.
Turn 5: Necrons:
Finally, the chaplain mistakenly killed a model out of base-to-base and Imotek learned from two and a half turns of playing on-looker. Somehow, the chaplain managed to endure a turn of combat from Imotek due to some fantastic saves, but the surrounding warriors, bouyed by the emergence of their leader had an amazing round of combat as well.
Prior to this turn, the chaplain had only taken a single unsaved wound (thanks in part to his warlord trait, granting him a 6+ FNP); however, this turn he took a full 8+ unsaved wounds and his geneseed would never be recovered.
Turn 6: Space Marines
My turn was largely ineffective. At this point, we had a chance to win if I could kill off some snipers, but I wasn’t going to be able to do so in combat. Instead, I pulled my bikes out of the assault and had them gun things down. Between them, and the assault cannon dreadnought, I reduced their numbers below mine, flipping the objectives to 4-2. But would that be enough?
Turn 6: Necrons:
The short answer is: no. Albert did fail all of his WBB rolls on that squad, so I was in a good spot; however, he spent a CP and re-rolled, passing and tying things up for that building. That brought us to 3-2-1.
Otherwise, he lacked the firepower to kill off any of my units, who were quite durable, so it looked like we were destined for a tie. That is, until Sam pointed out inherent cheese in the Necron WBB rule. The thought was that he could bring them back and chain them in such a way to run across the board. The rule for reanimation protocols says otherwise:
“when a model’s reanimation protocols activate, set it up in unit coherency with any model from this unit that has not returned to the unit as a result of reanimation protocols this turn…”
It gets a little hairy here because we let him daisy chain things, but I think the end result is ultimately the same. We determined, before reanimation protocols, that Albert needed a 6″ run to surge in and hold an objective. He failed the roll (and subsequent CP re-roll with a five both times).
Now, if we had remembered to use reanimation protocols, and he spawned them closer to the building, then he wouldn’t have required the 6″ run, and could’ve gotten there with less. Since I only had one model in that building, if he could get there with at least two models, he would flip that building and earn the win. He spawned at least four models though so, despite us playing it wrong, it resulted in the same output.
Space Marines Lose!
What I Learned:
- Necrons stay in the thick of it. The ability to roll every round for every fallen model makes these guys super resilient. He also had Orikan the diviner for a 5+ invulnerable save, making them neigh impossible to clear off an objective. You’re going to want to use large squads though, as the 5 man squads fell fast.
- Reanimation protocols don’t allow chaining. This was only applicable in the last turn, and was crafty, but clearly we didn’t understand the rules. Still, in previous editions, Necrons were able to do this. It’s important to realize this rule is dead.
- Wraiths are still evil. They’re just as durable as they ever were, though they seem to have lost some damage output (I might be wrong there). I also don’t remember them having guns. They don’t need guns…
- Quantum shielding is rough. You’re much better suited to killing Necron vehicles with things like Assault cannons (which we coincidentally had a bunch of) than Melta & Las. I really like that they added this as a rock/paper/scissors thing to counter melta/las as they’re clearly so great in the current edition. They did a great job with this rule.
- The rest of the Necrons seem toned down. The stalker didn’t seem to enhance other nearby units. The command barge seemed fine, but not incredibly OP like it was previously. Of course, Albert doesn’t know his codex yet, so he likely missed something–and he didn’t use any of the strategems, and there are likely some doozies.