With some time off for the holidays, Sam and I scheduled a game during an unusual day (ie. any day outside of Fridays). We decided to play power levels because that makes lists quickly, but that’s all we had decided in advance. The day of the game, we opted to go with 80 power, as that seems pretty standard in our group…
Hive Fleet Proteus (Behemoth)
- Tyrant w/ Heavy Venomcannon & Scythes of Tyran (The Horror, Psychic Scream)
- Neurothrope (Catalyst)
- Tyranid Prime w/ Boneswords & Deathspitter
- 20x Hormagaunts
- 20x Hormagaunts
- 20x Genestealers
- 6x Warriors w/ Boneswords & Deathspitters inc. 1x Venomcannon
- 6x Warriors w/ Rending Claws & Deathspitters inc. 1x Venomcannon
- Fast Attack:
- Red Terror
- 6x Raveners w/ Deathspitters & Rending Claws
- 1x Mucolid
I actually had to proxy a Tyranid Prime because I apparently don’t own enough warriors to flesh out this many in a single list. I also didn’t have enough arms to comfortably equip them all with rending claws, so that’s also something I need to work on. Anywho, so the “Lictor” in the various photos is actually serving as the prime.
The rest of the list was based around the concept of medium to little bugs. Frankly, I’m a bit caught up with my win/loss ratio as of late, so I figured making softer armies seemed like the way to go. I’m not trying to throw games, mind you, but trying to play appropriately powered lists for the environment I’m in.
If I overcompensate and start to lose games, that’s ok, because that’s kind of the point.
So this list was basically trying to go without Monstrous Creatures (a goal I put into place after I started off with a Walking Tyrant). It’s also the first game of 8th edition that I used a Tyranid Prime. Hard to believe that I’ve used everything else, but it’s just so hard for me to justify this guy. He’s fairly pricey (compared to other HQ’s) and his greatest strength is that he makes bad units better.
Not exactly a strong selling point.
Sam’s Imperial Knights
Sam had joked about playing his knights–well, at least I thought it was a joke. Now, my choice of having almost no monstrous creatures was seemingly a bad decision…
- 1x Knight Warden (Warlord)
- Avenger Gatling Cannon
- Reaper Chainsword
- Icarus Autocannons
- 1x Knight Crusader
- Rapid Fire Battle-cannon
- Avenger Gatling Cannon
- Ironstorm Missle Launcher
- 1x Knight Errant
- Thermal Cannon
- Reaper Chainsword
- Krak Missile Launcher
While I expected him to have a list that was harder than mind, I just didn’t expect to see this on the other side of the table. I had played against his knights before with an army that wasn’t designed to fight against them, and managed to pull out a win then, so all hope wasn’t lost.
Besides, that was in 7th edition, when very few units in my force could actually hurt these guys. Now that we were playing 8th–literally everything I had could hurt them. That’s got to even the odds a bit.
I think he was feeling a little remorse about his army choice, so he opted to just play with 75 of his 80 power (though he might just not have had extra models to throw in). He also opted to make the Knight Warden his warlord, whereas he normally would use the Crusader, so I think this clearly points to him throwing in the towel a little.
Mission & Deployment:
We rolled up “draw three objectives each turn” and “you can score your opponents ‘secure objective X'” missions. For deployment, we got the short board edges in the weird spear-tip style. I setup my first unit in reserve, and he counted by setting up everything.
Which seems impressive until you realize it’s just three models.
I deployed those units I could in reserve (just the raveners, red terror & the mucolid), and everything else deployed out hapharzardly. He had taken the side that had more objectives in it, but I started off with more in my deployment zone. So, I had a biovore in place to hold one of them, and then used a squad of gaunts on the other side to perform a similar feature.
The genestealers went in front in the hopes that they’d be able to actually make it to combat. The Prime huddled close to both units of warriors, and everything else sort of lumped together where they could.
We rolled off for first turn and, despite getting an effective -1 to my roll, I wound up going first.
Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus
My first turn went about as you’d expect. I drew a single objective that I was already standing on, so that’s always nice. Everything else surged forward towards combat and shot where they could. Between my warriors, Biovore, & Hive Tyrant, I picked out his Crusader (the one with all of the guns) as my primary target, and tried to focus that down. Of course, not all of my guns were in range, so I took shots where I could.
All in all, the damage inflicted was relatively minimal, and I passed the turn without really having an impact on how he would play the game.
Score: Tyranids – 1 vs. Knights – 0
Turn 1: Imperial Knights
He also drew an objective that he could score: “Priority Orders” so that his HQ needed to hold an objective that was within 8″ of him at the start of the turn. With that in mind, he shimmied over to hold that (and earn a whoppin four points for doing so), while the other knight leapt forward to defend another objective he had in his deck.
He isolated the genestealers as his immediate threat (not such a bad idea, especially considering he had witnessed a game in 7th where 20ish genestealers slaughtered a knight in one round of combat). So he poured at least two units fire into them, but between their innate invulnerable save and a little catalyst, they managed to survive.
Score: Tyranids – 1 vs. Knights – 4
Turn 2: Hive Fleet Proteus
My wounded unit of ‘stealers pushed forward to contest the objective, but I wasn’t going to be able to do much more than that. My dreams of assaulting him went out the door when I was down to just a handful of models. Clearly, they were better suited to annoying him than they were to actually killing anything at this point.
The rest of my army sputtered forward, splitting their fire where they could between two units. All of my venom cannons fired at the primary target: the Crusader, whereas all of the smaller guns opened up on the knight that was harrassing my genestealers.
This was largely because it was the one that was in range of most of my guns. It also helped that the venom cannons had managed to crack the crusader down to half of his total wounds and thereby reduce his effectiveness shooting against me.
My Tyrant started applying a constant barrage of “the Horror” against his warlord, which she would keep up for the rest of the game. This meant that, though I was unable to actually kill any knights at this point, I was able to reduce the effectiveness of two of them–so that was a start.
I also scored two points this turn: one for having two units completely in my deployment zone, and another for manifesting three psychic powers.
Score: Tyranids – 3 vs. Knights – 4
Turn 2: Imperial Knights
Whereas the objectives weren’t exactly going my way–they were definitely falling in line for the Imperials. He was already standing on three objectives, so when he drew “hold any three objectives,” that just meant he had to kill off a couple of genestealers–which proved quite simple.
He took it to another level though–after I contested the objective the previous turn. He also killed off almost all of my hormagaunts, figuring that they might sneak forward and steal the objective again from him (spoiler alert: they won’t).
A five point turn following a four point turn can be back-breaking though…
Score: Tyranids – 3 vs. Knights – 8+1
Turn 3: Hive Fleet Proteus
I brought my raveners onto the board and used them to harass/threaten both of his wounded knights. Between them and the rest of my forces, I was able to reduce his crusader down to just two remaining wounds, and got his other titan below half–but wasn’t able to fell either of the beasts.
To make matters worse, not only was I not able to score any objectives to close the gap–but I had no feasible way to contest his Knight and allow him to score another point for defending an objective during my turn.
Score: Tyranids – 3 vs. Knights – 10+1
Turn 3: Imperial Knights
By this point, Sam realized that my warriors were doing most of the damage, so he directed focus to them. What guns he had leveled their way, but also worked on thinning out the raveners (who carried functionally identical guns to the warriors and also posed as a close combat threat). With a charge from multiple knights, the Raveners did fair well. Though they managed to live through the beating, they could not live up to the inevitable morale check that followed. That left poor little Red Terror in combat with a monstrous machine all by his lonesome.
Sam earned another point for standing on yet another objective he alread held and passed the turn back to me.
Score: Tyranids – 3 vs. Knights – 11+1
Turn 4: Hive Fleet Proteus
If it wasn’t clear already, I knew by this point that the only real path to me winning involved tabling my opponent.
Now that’s not exactly something you want to think of when every model in your opponent’s army is T8 with 25 wounds, but that’s the reality I was facing. What really surprised me is how much fun I was having despite getting wrecked. Really, I fancy myself as a sore loser, but there was a sliver of hope in here for me, and that was enough to keep me going.
My army was able to easily pull off the last two wounds I needed to kill the Crusader (and earn me a point for killing an enemy unit) and it seems there were enough bullets left in my guns to also kill off the other titan–leaving only his warlord remaining. I also drew two objectives that I was able to score in a single turn–bringing me up to exactly half of his overall score.
Score: Tyranids – 6 vs. Knights – 11+1
Turn 4: Imperial Knights
He was clearly in trouble, and used this turn to get out of dodge. Though he couldn’t get away from the venomcannons that were pounding him from long range, he was able to get out of deathspitter range and hopefully that would be enough. He also perched himself into a wood so that he was obscured from at least some of my guys and would likely have a cover save in my next turn (assuming it came down to that).
As luck would have it, he was able to draw the only objective he could reasonably score for the game (Except maybe to slay my warlord), and he backed away from me, taking out as many warriors as he could while doing just that.
That allowed him to widen the lead just a little more. Not that I cared about the lead though–I had already given up on winning that way. I just needed to close the distance to him…
Score: Tyranids – 6 vs. Knights – 12+1
Turn 5: Hive Fleet Proteus
And that’s what I did. I pushed forward, guns blazing, and stripped off a few wounds from him–enough to make him scared, but not enough to really do much else.
I also earned another victory point for “mastering the warp” and casting a couple of spells–including locking him down with “the horror” yet again.
Score: Tyranids – 8 vs. Knights – 12+1
Turn 5: Imperial Knights
He had made calculated move, positioning himself to try to thwart me from holding an objective, while simultaneously lining up a shot to slay my warlord (which was systematically the only way he now could hope to win the game–seeing I was going to defend two objectives and also earn linebreaker to at least tie). He unloaded on me, and did enough wounds to kill her, but her magical 4+ invulnerable proved to be too much.
I scored two points each for defending two objectives through his turn, and we rolled to see if the game would end.
It did not. Unfortunately, he was out of command points that he could use to force a re-roll and the game continued on to turn 6…
Score: Tyranids – 12 vs. Knights – 12+1
Turn 6: Hive Fleet Proteus
Turn six proved to be devastating. My ‘gaunts had been killed out of combat range in the previous turned, and opted not to consolidate back in.
So, after firing everything I had at him, I managed to charge in with the hormagaunts (who rolled a 12) followed by a mucolid (who also rolled a 12) and lastly by the Hive Tyrant. With the warlord down to just one wound left (after the Mucolid explosion), I allowed the Hormagaunts to go first and see if they could fell the mighty war machine.
I squealed with glee when they did.
Final Score: Tyranids – 12+2 vs. Knights – 12+1
If you had told me at the start of this game that I would win, I would’ve been surprised. Surely though, the win would come from being more mobile and being able to grab various objectives, right? Nope, you’re going to win by tabling an army full of knights.
Yeah, I wouldn’t have believed that–especially not with the list I fielded. But that’s the way it worked out. I’m really surprised by the results, but almost more surprised by how fun this game was. Both Sam and I remarked about how much pleasure we took from it. Despite being spanked for most of the game, I never got upset. I’m not sure if that’s the result of me growing as a sportsman, or maybe it had something to do with the fact that I expected to lose from the beginning. I don’t know, but I do know that it was the most fun I’ve had playing 40k in a long while.
What Did I Learn:
- Warriors aren’t bad. Loading up enough deathspitters isn’t a bad strategy. And venomcannons are actually pretty darn good. Maybe I was wrong to poo-poo the Tyranid Prime for so long?
- Biovore based cheating. I’m not sure that my biovore was in Synapse for the entire game. Well, he certainly wasn’t for the entire game, but also might not have been for when it counted. It’s possible I fired him at the wrong target on at least one occassion without testing for Instinctive Behavior.
- Oh wait, nevermind. That rule is stupid. You no longer need to be within synapse range, but rather within 24″ of a synapse creature. I’m almost certain that he was in that range–though I didn’t actually check.
- Knights need to charge. We talked about this after the game. Sam said it’s a lesson he learns every game after he plays this guys: half of their damage comes from assault, so he should be charging; however, the way that the objectives played out, I’m not sure he misplayed this game. This game is typically won with objectives, so taking advantage of them while you can tends to be the correct play.