Thursday, 8 October 2009

Battle Report – The Gate Opens

It's taken a fair bit (much longer than I imagined it would have taken!), but I've finally written my first battle report! This game was the final match of our 500pt Doubles tournament, with myself and Admiral Drax facing the heretical denizens of Chaos – a Khorne-Daemon army and Thousand Sons. Let me know what you think, since this is my first report, it's no doubt a bit rusty; any critique' will certainly be welcome for me to remember for the next one!

“It was true – the crisis was much worse than could have been predicted, though Epistolary Tharoden knew there was still hope. A bone-shattering splinter of lightening lit up the crimson storm-filled horizon, for an instant illuminating a contorted face amongst the billowing clouds. Unfortunately given the circumstances, this was probably not a trick of the eye. The Emperor’s Tarrot led him here, but what was to be an investigation for the taint of Chaos in a civilised and Emperor-fearing world, his arrival appeared to have triggered a planet-wide rebellion sooner than the Heretics had planned. His thoughts were briefly interrupted by a chime. “Brother Epistolary, Thunderhawk confirmed en route, arrival in 12 minutes”. This report was punctuated by the deep snap of a Bolt Pistol from a nearby Marine, exploding the chest of what was the last of the Neophytes. Tharoden was too late it seems, the portal had began to open - the monstrous Daemon Mat’Ne’vh will soon be arriving, and with it damnation of the planet Calne Major… but this grand conspiracy was not isolated to a single planet, and word must get back to the Chapter if this event is not to soon be repeated on a dozen other worlds. The first rain from the laden clouds began to fall. A drop landing on his outstretched hand shown it to be a deep red ochre; he needn’t taste to know it was blood. Between the bright flashes of lightening and deep bellows of thunder, he could hear the unmistakable din of an Imperial motorcade coming from the South West. Calne had not completely forsaken the Emperor; there were still light pockets of resistance, among them the remnants of the Cadian troops from the 2/24th on permanent station here. They had paid a great price to buy time for Tharroden’s detachment to assault the Chaos Portal, proving their strength of faith; and thus gaining an opportunity to die in the service of the Emperor elsewhere.
An overlay transmitted from the Command Razorback shown there to be hidden activity near their location; it appeared that the actions of the loyal Guard and finally encouraged the true architects of the conspiracy to reveal themselves, Marines of Chaos, their fallen brothers. These warped Heretics of Chaos were now moving to ensure no-one left this planet.
“TO WAR BROTHERS!” Fifteen of the Emperor’s Finest replied, but while Tharoden was in no doubt of their response, the voices were interspaced with hissing; the air was now alive with static. Leading the Assault Marines through what was now a cascading downpour of blood, Tharoden knew that the barriers between the material and warp were failing; Faith will soon be as important a weapon in this fight as their Bolters.

Lightening blistered overhead; the face appeared to be laughing.”

A cataclysmic event was taking place on the planet, and the race was on to escape – the centre point is marked as the evacuation location, and the side with the most Troop VPs within 3” of the centre of the board by the end of the game would be victorious.

Army Lists
Angels of Fortitude 500pts
- The Avenger
- Might of Ancients

Tactical Squad (10)
- Power Sword
- Flamer
- Missile Launcher
- Razorback (to carry Assault Squad & Librarian)

Assault Squad (5)
- Power Sword
- Rhino

- Heavy Bolter

Cadian 2/24th
Infantry Pl. HQ Squad (5)
Officer’s plasma pistol and CCW
Grenade launcher x3
Chimera (Multilaser and hull heavy bolter)

Infantry Squad 1 (10)
Plasma gun
Chimera (Multilaser and hull heavy bolter)

Infantry Squad 1 (10)
Melta gun
Chimera (Multilaser and hull heavy bolter)

Hardened Veterans (10)
Heavy flamer
Grenade Launcher x2
Chimera (Multilaser and hull heavy flamer)

Chaos Daemons

8 Bloodletters of Khorne

8 Bloodletters of Khorne

3 Bloodcrushers of Khorne
3 Bloodcrushers of Khorne

Chaos Renegades

8 Thousand Sons
Aspiring Sorcerer Wind of Chaos

10 Chosen Chaos Marines
Plasma gun
Plasma pistol

We rolled off, and needed to deploy first – myself in the North-East corner, and Drax in the South-West, no further than 12 x 12” from our respective corners. Both of our armies having the focus on mobility, it would not serve us well to try and slug it out in our respective corners; and so we deployed aggressively with our transports pointed towards the centre in the hopes that we can out manoeuvre our opponents and bring our force to bare on a divided opponent. I elected to keep my Landspeeder in reserve – so it can come in where I need it to help counter the Bloodletters as and when they appear.
The Chaos deployment was quite straight forward – the Thousand Sons were interestingly gunning for Drax, with the Sons and Sorcerer behind the hill separating them, and the unit of Chosen taking the opportunity to deploy behind Drax’s Chimera, no doubt wanting to tear through the rear armour with the plasma guns – but it was a gamble - could they get any decent hits in before Drax’s convoy speeds away?

TURN 1 (Chaos)
First the Khorne daemons arrived – A unit of Bloodletters materialised between mine and Drax’s force, essentially cutting me off from a clean path to join with his forces, and this was promptly followed by three Bloodcrushers appearing further towards Drax’s lines. Fortunately the Bloodcrushers scattered wildly towards the unit of Thousand sons – for what good that did, it may have brought Drax a modicum of breathing space before they get in range to charge.
With a brisk march, the Thousand Sons scaled the hill, and the Chosen marines snuck forward (or whatever passes for sneaking when you have a 8ft gold Chaos Icon bolted to your back) to some cover behind the Chimeras.
The din of revving engines of the Imperial transports were suddenly interrupted by the shriek of Plasma crashing into the rear of the nearest Chimera. Bursting into flames, hatches were thrown open and the surviving Veterans jumped out, only to be further scythed down by unholy Bolter fire from the Thousand Sons. Showing true grit, the last three of them rallied.
It was only the beginning of the first turn, but already the intention was clear – Drax was starting the game pinned and besieged from all sides, and it doesn’t look like the Daemon player wanted me to help out in a hurry…

Chaos Chosen fire on Drax from behind.

TURN 1 (Loyalists)

Jumping my marines into the Rhino and gunning the engines, I raced toward Drax at an angle to entice the Bloodletters to draw themselves away from the centre objective, and away from Drax – I was hoping my full speed sprint will mean if the Daemons took the bait, they wouldn’t be able to do much damage. Meanwhile, my Assault squad and Librarian hopped into the Razorback which stayed put for the time being – I wanted some distance between my transports to force some hard decisions on where the Daemon player wants to Deep Strike.
Meanwhile in a hark back to the days of the Wild West, Drax’s Chimeras circled into an impressive ‘Ring of Fire’ (well, ‘Semi-Circle’, but it sounds less grand), as the surviving Veterans sprinted northward to protect the Chimeras from anything that got to close (a more cynical observer would call them a ‘Speed Bump’). Having his special weapon troops stick their heads out of the firing points, Multi-Lasers and Grenades went flying, killing a Bloodcrusher and a Thousand Son. Equally impressively, a heady mix of tough cover, blessed armour and guardsman accuracy left the infiltrating Chosen unscathed!
In relation, the Astartes firing was very quiet – only the Razorback’s Twin Heavy bolter barked out, knocking down one of the Bloodletters.

TURN 2 (Chaos)
The second turn began with the other unit of Bloodcrushers appearing menacingly behind my Razorback and Rhino. Sensing an opportunity too good to miss, the Bloodletters moved into a position to charge my Rhino, while the Thousand Sons continued their procession until they were at the crest of the hill and a short range from Drax’s Chimeras. The first unit of Bloodcrushers stampeded towards the Guard defence…
Like before, the firepower came crashing into the Chimeras – this time the Plasmas managed to destroy the Multilaser of a second vehicle, while we were shocked to find that the ‘Wind of Chaos’ was able to glance vehicles on a 4+! Again unfortunately for us, he passed his psychic test passed and he achieved just that, but unfortunately for him he only stunned the vehicle.
Finally, the Bloodletters charged into the Rhino, but the speed it was travelling at meant they weren’t able to lay any blow hard enough to cause any damage.

Blood Crushers appear behind the Marines

TURN 2 (Loyalists)
While very welcome, the reserve Landspeeder decided that we were doing fine enough without it, so the crew stuck around in the Hanger enjoying the gothic equivalent of tea and crumpets.
Following the battering, the Rhino nonchalantly continued forwards a few inches before applying the handbrake, and hearing the commotion outside, my Tactical squad promptly disembarked to greet the Bloodletters. The Bloodcrushers behind me were very unexpected - being my first game against Daemons, I was starting to appreciate how well they do at messing up a good old-fashioned plan! I didn’t need to whiteness a charge from them to know it would hurt, so believing this to be the best opportunity I had before they started running all over the place, I disembarked and moved my Assault squad and Librarian and moved to engage – time to see how tough they really were!
Showing what they were made of, Drax’s guardsmen stayed put and continued to lay on the fire power… a heady mix of Multilasers, Heavy Bolters, Grenade Launchers and even a Plasma pistol went flying, claiming a couple of Thousand sons and a wound off a Bloodcrusher. Leaping well ahead to protect the Chimeras, the three Veterans pumped and poured shotgun buck and burning promethium against the Bloodcrushers, successfully putting one down!
An explosion of rapid bolter fire, an impromptu promethium shower, and the distant rapid thudding of a Razorback’s Heavy bolter later, all but two Bloodletters remained.
Blasting at them with their Bolt pistols and yelling a war cry, my Librarian led his accompanying assault squad against the Khornate beasts. The Librarian took the opportunity to call on the Might of Ancients, and a clash of blades against teeth/horns/etc. ensued – one Assault marine fell, but the Librarian managed to wound a Bloodcrusher! …. And I then discovered that they were immune to the effects of my Force Sword… An ‘Oh buggar’ moment if I ever seen one. I passed my morale check, and the fight continues. Things didn’t go to plan on the southern edge either, as the Veterans got a little too cocky and charged the two remaining Bloodcrushers… only to be splattered or cut down without even slowing them!

Tactical Squad ambushes the Bloodletters

Librarian and Assault Marines charge the Bloodcrushers.

TURN 3 (Chaos)
The last remaining daemon unit materialized, and promptly moved to claim the evacuation point. Meanwhile, the noose tightened further as the Bloodcrushers sped forward and the Thousands Sons marched down the hill. The Chosen opened fire again, but this time the Plasma gun malfunctioned! The save was made, but unfortunately for Drax one of the shots still got through, and with shriek and thud, flames erupted from a second destroyed transport. The guard fared better this time, and the seven survivors moved into a defensive position to engage the Chosen. The Bloodcrusher made a final sprint towards Drax’s lines, and were now just out of charge range. Finally, the Tzeentch Aspiring Sorcerer called for the Wind of Chaos, which threatened to engulf two Chimeras, one of whom was housing the command squad. It appeared that Tzeentch had offended the Dice Gods, as no favour would be found here – shouting an agonizing cry, the Champion realised his fate as the daemons of the warp took him to meet his master, and the vision ports of two Chimeras fogged up with the collective sigh of relief from fifteen Guardsmen.
Showing an annoying sense of tenacity, the two remaining Bloodletters shook themselves off and jumped into my Tactical Squad, cutting five down before succumbing to the barrage of Rifle butts. Meanwhile behind them, with the initiative now lost, the fight against the Bloodcrushers was starting to go badly for the Marines. Now the surprise had passed, the beasts got stuck into their favourite hobby of goring Power-Armoured marines. Though the Boys in (Regal) Blue didn’t give up without a fight; the valiant sacrifice of the Veteran Sgt. Felled one of them, leaving both a wounded Librarian and limping Bloodcrusher to square off against each other…

Thousand Sons approach the Chimeras

TURN 3 (Loyalists)

The Landspeeder came onto the field just in time from the centre-west to aim for the new Bloodletters. Jumping out of the Chimera in well a disciplined drill, the Armoured Fist assembled a double ranked firing line facing the galloping Bloodcrushers. Back towards the centre of the board, the Rhino moved to allow the Tactical Squad a route to attempt to clear the Bloodletters from the evacuation point.
A deafening noise erupted along the battlefield as the immediate area around evacuation point exploded in a spectrum of smoke, rubble, flame and gore as the Heavy Bolters from the Landspeeder and Razorback smashed into the Bloodletters, while bolters from the Rhino and Tactical squad thudded inwards below an arching jet of liquid promethium. No mortal men could have expected to survive such a barrage, but alas, there were nothing mortal about them – a mix of fortunate invulnerable saves and the wise move of Going to Ground meant there were still three standing when the smoke cleared.
While this barrage of fire took place, Drax’s men stood firm as the Commanding Officer gave the order to prepare for “First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire”. Two Chimeras poured Las, Bolt and grenade rounds into the Bloodcrushers, causing a wound. The shout was then given to the guardsmen to fire, and they laid down a barrage of las fire in well practiced drill… bringing the bronze leviathan crashing down, stopping just in front of their feet. The victorious cheers from the guardsmen had apparently spurred their comrades on, as the remaining Chimera and Special weapons crew brought down another two Thousand Sons. The southern squad of infantry were still getting their bearings and rolling around to put out any smouldering flames; only a few shots landed on target, and they failed to wound.
A heroic victory in the south was balanced by a tragic defeat in the North – despite putting up a valiant fight, Librarian Tharoden was finally slain by the Bloodcrusher.

The Guard slays the beast.

TURN 4 (Chaos)
With a bellow of rage, the remaining Bloodcrusher began stampeding after the Tactical squad, as the Bloodletters stood back up; intent on preventing any Astartes passing through them to get to the evacuation point in time. Over on the South West, all the efforts were now concentrated on trying to get to the centre, whether it be to escape, or prevent it! Unfortunately for the Tzeentch player, his eagerness to destroy Drax had now left him quite far (at least for a Thousand Son) from the centre point, and even an impressive dice roll had prevented them from quite getting there. Trying to keep the Guard from getting away, the Chosen jumped out from their cover to try and take out some armour with the remaining Plasma Pistol, which subsequently missed, while the remaining Bloodcrusher continued running to close the distance between it and the Marines.

TURN 4 (Loyalists)
It appeared that there was no way Drax was going to be able to make it to the evacuation point in time, but in an act of defiance, gunned the engines to give chase against the remaining Thousand Sons. At this point, the two minute warning was given, and the Marines were still 11” away, with three Bloodletters intent on stopping them! The outcome of the game was now focused on the last actions of 5 Astartes…
In a last minute gambit, the Marines moved forward 6”. Everything else was ignored, and we went straight for shooting. The Heavy Bolters from the Landspeeder and Razorback barked out, taking down the Bloodletters. The final die was rolled to see how far the Marines would run… and a 6!

The Marines escape!

“Lt. Melvill’s heart swelled as he saw the Thunderhawk soaring away to the distance with the few remaining Astartes – this was not how he would have imagined his death, but at least it would count for something. His thoughts were interrupted by a bone-rattling shockwave that sent the Chimeras skidding across the now blood-soaked ground, knocking everyone off their feet. The recognition of the source hit Melvill like a hammer, and any sense of righteousness he previously held was replaced by a much more baser feeling. Terror. The Portal was open, Mat’Ne’vh had arrived.”

The Portal opens...

An exciting end to a very exciting game – Drax did a fantastic job of weathering the exotic storm of unholy fire, and brought together a great cinematic moment of the Guardsmen taking down the Bloodcrusher in a true ‘Zulu/300’-esque move. It was also my first game against Chaos in the 5th Edition, and first against Daemons – I have to consider myself lucky that the Tzeentch player wasn’t gunning for me, and had kept my Rhino positioned as a screen to prevent the player from entertaining any thoughts of firing at my Tac squad with their AP3 relentless bolters! I very much enjoyed going against the Daemons too – their Deep Strike deployment really added a true ‘Chaos’ element to the game, and the figures were a joy to see!

Unit of the Match
My unit of the match had to be my Tac squad – not only did they manage to bag a lot of Bloodletters, but they also managed to win us the game – with a sprint! (I’ve never been able to get this unit to jog further than 2”… though I suppose the imminent approach of a planet-destroying daemon can be quite a good motivator!)


Admiral Drax said...

Great stuff, and just how I remember it!

Thanks, Mike, and lets have more of that narrativey goodness!

Anonymous said...

Great narrative battle report.

Sounds like it was a fun game!

Mark said...

Great report indeed, and i just love the pic of the Bloodcrushers squaring up against the Marines :)

Mike The Merciless said...

Thanks, glad you folks liked it!

avatar-of-khorne said...

a fantastic battle report, and as much fun to read as it was to play (speaking as aforementioned Daemon Player)