New Adventures in TTS, Part 4: A Rivalry In Faith

A while back, I took to yet more experimentation in Tabletop Simulator. This was on a weekend, and I had set aside enough time to, hopefully, play a full 2000 point game. As luck would have it, I ended up pitted against a Black Templar player, and the stage was soon set to decide which of our armies loved the Emperor more.

My list was as follows:

THE ORDER OF THE BLESSED DAMSEL:

ORDER OF OUR MARTYRED LADY BATTALION
Canoness- Wrath of the Emperor, blessed blade, Indomitable Belief
Missionary- shotgun, chainsword
Ephrael Stern & Kyganil
5 Battle Sisters- 2 meltaguns
5 Battle Sisters- 2 storm bolters
5 Battle Sisters- 2 storm bolters
Imagifier- Book of St. Lucius, Tale of the Warrior, Tale of the Stoic, Venerated Saint
5 Dominions- 4 storm bolters
5 Dominions- 4 storm bolters
8 Retributors- 4 multi-meltas, 2 armorium cherubs
8 Retributors- 4 heavy bolters, 2 armorium cherubs
Exorcist- Exorcist missile launcher

ORDER OF THE BLOODY ROSE VANGUARD
Canoness- Benificence, Righteous Rage, Heroine in the Making
8 Celestians- 2 meltaguns, Celestian Superior w. power maul
8 Sisters Repentia
8 Zephyrim- Zephyrim Pennant
7 Seraphim- 2 pairs of inferno pistols, Seraphim Superior w. plasma pistol
3 Mortifiers- heavy bolters, penitent flails, Anchorite
Rhino

Pre-Game Stratagems: Heroine in the Making, Venerated Saint, Open the Reliquaries

This list was an experiment on multiple levels. Firstly, I was breaking away from a pure Bloody Rose detachment in favour of a mixed Our Martyred Lady/Bloody Rose force. It was my first time using Our Martyred Lady, and given the significant boost that Retributors had gotten in this edition, I resolved to take two large units of them, in the hopes that they would be able to absorb casualties and then shoot back with their excellent +1 to hit bonus from the Order conviction. The general idea of this list was that Our Martyred Lady force would form a solid wall of firepower and bodies, while the Bloody Rose component would move up aggressively and murder things in melee. Simple, and to the point.

Oh, also, because I have been painting their models in real life, I decided to try out Ephrael Stern and Kyganil, just to see how they would fare.

My, meanwhile, brought the following::

THE BLACK TEMPLARS:

BLACK TEMPLARS BATTALION:
High Marshal Helbrecht- Frontline Commander
Chaplain Grimaldus- Psalm of Remorseless Persecution, Fervent Acclamation
Master of Sanctity- Ancient Breviary, Litany of Divine Protection, Fires of Devotion
10 Crusaders- 5 Initiates w. bolt pistols & Astartes chainswords, 4 Neophtes w. shotguns, Sword Brother w. Sword of Judgement
5 Crusaders- 5 Initiates- heavy bolter
10 Assault Intercessors
5 Incursors
Chief Apothecary- Crusader Helm, Selfless Healer, Hero of the Chapter
Venerable Dreadnought- assault cannon, heavy flamer
5 Bladeguard Veterans
5 Assault Terminators- thunder hammers & storm shields
5 Devastators- 4 multi-meltas, armorium cherub
5 Devastators- 4 grav-cannons, armorium cherub
Drop Pod
Drop Pod

Pre-Game Stratagems: Crusader Relics, Hero of the Chapter

All in all, an interesting mix of Firstborn and Primaris Stuff, with plenty of scary synergies being generated by all of the named characters and Chaplain prayers. Also, admittedly, it was the first time in a long time that I had seen Drop Pods being used.

SCENARIO AND DEPLOYMENT:

I again can’t remember what the GT scenario was called or what its specific objectives were. I do remember that I took Attrition, Engage on All Fronts and Raise the Banners High (I originally was going for Thin Their Ranks, but got it and Attrition confused). He was going for Engage on All Fronts, Assassinate, and Direct Assault (a GT specific objective, I can’t remember what it’s for. Or was it a Space Marine objective? I forget)

Anyway, deployment looked like this. My melta Sisters were in Strategic Reserve, and my Seraphim, Zephyrim, and Ephrael and Kyganil were in actual reserve. In case it wasn’t obvious, the Repentias + Missionary were going in the Rhino. The Templars, in turn, had both Devastators in one Drop Pod, and the large Crusader Squad in another Pod, and his Terminator squad deep striking.

Where possible, I was castling my stuff around my Imagifier and Canoness. I put the Bloody Rose Canoness (henceforth known by her internet monicker of Becky) and her Celestian bodyguard up near the top of my DZ to act as a charge buffer against my squishier stuff. (Note that I had forgotten until deployment that Incursors can do an annoying…infiltration…thing)

For my Sacred Rites, I rolled randomly and got The Passion and Aegis of the Emperor. I decided to stick with this roll, mainly because I had already spent a lot of command points before game had even begun and didn’t want to spend more (besides, I was happy that I had at least gotten The Passion).

THE GAME

The Templars won the roll-off and the game began. And the game began, crucially, with the Master of Sanctity failing to get Litany of Divine Protection off on the Assault Intercessors. As far as I remember, all other prayers from both him and Grimaldus did go off, but he was left with his Assault Intercessors looking a lot more vulnerable than he would have liked. The Assault Intercessors advanced, followed closely by Grimaldus. The Bladeguard made a steady advance up along with the other Templar characters, and the small Initiate squad stayed on their home objective.

The Venerable Dreadnought swung around to take some cover behind a wall, while the Incursors climbed to the top level of the building they were on.

And then the Drop Pods came down! One Drop pod fell to my north, disgorging the big Crusader squad, while another fell to my east, putting both squads of Devastators out in front of my big assault units.

And then the shooting phase began. Both squads of Devastators opened up the festivities, using both of their armorium cherubs for extra shots. When the storm of fire settled, the Mortifiers had been utterly wiped out, and my Rhino had been reduced to just a handful of wounds. Turn 1, and I was already taking pain from massed multi-meltas

More fire came into my Sororitas castle from the Incursors, Crusaders, Dreadnought and Assault Intercessors (who could still shoot thanks to their The Emperor’s Will stratagem). My multi-melta Retributors were hit hard and lost 3 of their number, while the Celestians lost a further 2, and the Battle Sister squad to the front of my formation also lost 2.

And then the charges came in. The Crusaders came barrelling into the Celestians, while the Assault Intercessors, using The Emperor’s Will, Kool-Aid-Manned their way right throught he wall in front of the Dominions to engage them as well. At the time, I had forgotten that Breachable terrain can just be charged through without penalty. Naturally, Becky heroically intervened to aid her Celestian sisters.

Melee was an absolutely brutal affair. The Dominions, unsurprisingly, were shredded by Intercessor chainswords. The Crusaders, meanwhile, focused as many attacks as possible by Becky: while she took 3 wounds from the Sword of Judgement, the rest of the blows, where possible, were intercepted by her brave Celestians. In the end, six Celestians were mowed down by the Crusader assault. Sufficiently enraged, Becky revved Benificence, vowed to Tear Them Down, and did just that, massacring 8 of the Crusaders! WOOT, GO BECKY! The Celestian Superior then hit with all of her own attacks and….completely failed to wound with her power maul.

In morale, my Retributors passed moral thanks to the judicious use of a miracle dice, but the last Celestian then exited the battlefield out of shame.

In my turn, I angled as much firepower from my castle as I could to bring their guns to bear on the now-exposed Assault Intercessors, all the while trying to keep units in range of my Canoness and her reroll aura. My other squad of Storm Bolter Sisters began to raise their banner, and the Exorcist stayed where it was in order to gain more targets (a mistake, as I could have moved it up a little to score on Engage on All Fronts). To the south, my Repentia, naturally, disembarked along with their Missionary buddy to go say hi to the Devastators, while their accompanying band of Dominions moved into rapid fire range of them as well.

In the shooting phase, I threw virtually everything I could at the Assault Intercessors, with both squads of Retributors, my characters, and all available Battle Sisters firing into them. The Assault Intercessors used Transhuman Physiology, and this probably helped them: in the end, though, 9 of them fell, leaving one survivor left standing, battered but defiant.

Before:

After:

It’s also worth noting that my Exorcist split its fire, putting its heavy bolter against the Assault Intercessors and its rockets against the Dreadnought, but I think it managed maybe only 2 wounds on the Dreadnought thanks to some bad rolling. Elsewhere, my other squad of Dominions loaded their Blessed Bolts, and proceeded to blast down 4 of the 5 grav-cannon Devastators. Woot!

In the assault phase, the Repentias and Missionary, naturally, charged the multi-melta Devastators, and made it in despite losing one of their number to overwatch.

In close combat, the Repentias, unsurprisingly, murdered the Devastators and consolidated into their Drop Pod.

Becky, meanwhile, took another round of swinging from the Crusaders. Thanks to some judicious use of a Miracle dice and, I think, maybe a Command Point reroll, she tanked all of their blows and sawed them both down in return. Go Becky!

In the morale phase, my opponent was forced to use Insane Bravery to keep his last Intercessor from running. The last grav Devastator, though, had had enough of this battle and quietly exited the battlefield.

In the Black Templar turn, the characters and attendant Bladeguard moved a little further down, possibly looking for a charge on my castle.

The last Assault Intercessor retreated back out onto the street, where the nearby Apothecary would then resurre…er, heal one of his buddies.

It’s worth noting that all prayers went off this round. I’m not sure what went onto who, but I do know that Litany of Divine Protection went onto the very scary Bladeguard. Anyway, Grimaldus then moved up to shout some very angry words at Becky.

Oh yes, and the other Crusader squad remained encamped on their objective. Moving on.

Also, the Assault Terminators chose that moment to arrive, looking to threaten my poor Exorcist.

In the shooting phase, as many bolters and heavy weapons as possible were levelled against Becky. Once again, I used a miracle dice and a command point to make as many of her saves as possible, and I think that actually forced my opponent to commit more firepower against her than he would have liked. In the end, though, poor Becky finally went down to the sheer volume of fire.

Other bits of Templar shooting managed to bring down another ablative girl on my melta Retributor squad, and something…I think it was the Bladeguard’s pistols…blasted down one of my Dominions. Hah, you fools, you are merely improving their ballistic skill!

In the charge phase, the Assault Terminators charged the Exorcist. I declared overwatch and managed to blast down one of the scary Terminators…and then, as if to add insult to injury, he failed his charge roll, even on a reroll! Well that was lucky…

The Bladeguard, on the other hand, had no such issues charging into my screening Battle Sister squad.

Grimaldus, of course, denied his epic duel against Becky, charged into the fray as well.

Unsurprisingly, the Templars butchered the last 3 Battle Sisters in close combat, but chose not to consolidate, not wanting to leave Helbrecht exposed to enemy fire.

Elsewhere, my Repentia sawed the Drop Pod apart, wrecking it, and consolidated away from it towards their next Templar victims.

This is how the board looked at the end of the turn. Note that the Drop Pod that the Crusaders came in on has been sitting on an objective and scoring it all the while.

In my turn, the Repentia advanced towards the centre of the board to engage the Bladeguard, using a 6 from a Miracle dice to move as fast as possible. The nearby Dominions tried to advance up to grab the objective that the Repentia had previously been sitting on, but fell short.

In the rest of the movement, my Exorcist stayed where it was: i reasoned as long as it was there, it was keeping the Terminators away from my vulnerable scoring units. My castle aligned as much as possible to bring their guns to bear on the Bladeguard. All, that is, except for the melta Retributors, who moved up to bring their multi-meltas to bear on the Venerable Dreadnought.

And then, the clouds did part, and my reserves did arrive! On the far (unpicutred) upper right of the board, the Seraphim dropped down near the Crusaders who were holding their backfield objective. Meanwhile, Ephrael Stern and her Harlequin buddy teleported into the backfield as well, looking to threaten that mean old Apothecary (yes, they were going to beat up a doctor. No one ever said Ephrael was a nice person)

Finally, my Zephyrim also arrived. Due to limited space, I was forced to put them behind a building. looking to get in a (potentially very crowded) charge on the Bladeguard.

Just another shot of the upper part of the battlefield.

At the end of the movement phase, the Seraphim used Deadly Descent, and, with some very good rolling, blasted down 4 of the 5 Crusaders! Then, at the start of my shooting phase, my Seraphim Superior overcharged her plasma pistol and fried the last Initiate, leaving the Templar home objective up for grabs.

In the rest of my shooting phase, my melta Retributors did what they did best and freemed the Venerable Dreadnought, melting it into slag! (They were hitting on a 2+ thanks to the OML trait, damn its good for Retributors). The rest of my shooting went into the Bladeguard, and after all was said and done, managed to drop 2 of them and leave another on 2 wounds. Wow, Bladeguard are tough (though granted they also had 5+ FNP thanks to Litanies of Divine Protection) I can’t remember what my Exorcist did: it either contributed to the pile of wounds on the Bladeguard, or fired at the Terminators and accomplished nothing. Moving on.

Oh yes, and also, Ephrael unleashed her “It’s Totally Not Psychic” Smite ability on the nearby Assault Intercessors, and blasted down one of them. I like to imagine it was the one that the Apothecary had just healed.

In the assault phase, the Repentia used Holy Rage to charge into the Bladeguard, while the Zephyrim made a long charge to make it in as well!

Ephrael then tried to charge the Apothecary, but fell short. Kyganil, however, did make the charge on his own, but in retrospect he should have stayed with Ephrael at that point.

Thoroughly annoyed by all of these mindless fanatics (pot, meet kettle), Helbrecht heroically intervened.

In the combat phase, the Bladeguard used Transhuman Physiology. Out of range of the Missionary and unable to use Tear Them Down, the Repentia still killed two Bladeguard (and also managed to put 2 wounds on Helbrecht). In response, Helbrecht and the last Bladeguard managed to kill 5 of the Repentia…and then at the end, somehow, thanks to casualty removal, everyone ended up disengaged. I think it’s partly because Helbrecht chose not to consolidate, the sneaky twit.

Elsewhere, Kyganil failed to hurt the Apothecary, who in turn failed to hurt him back. Sigh, never send a xeno to do a Sororita’s job.

In the morale phase, though, the last Bladeguard obligingly failed his test and ran away, leaving Helbrecht hanging on his own (I think this is partly where the weird situation I mentioned above came from). I may have used a miracle dice to keep the Repentia in the fight. Note as well that the Zephyrim never got to swing thanks to canny casualty removal from my opponent).

In the Black Templar turn, Grimaldus moved up to confront the Retributors, while the Incursors moved into rapid fire range of them as well.

The Apothecary healed up the Intercessor who had been smitten down by Ephrael– please just give this poor Templar a break already!), while the Master of Sanctity got both Litany of Divine Protection and Fires of Devotion off on Helbrecht. The Apothecary then disengaged to let the Master of Sanctity and his Intercessor buddies deal with this lone xeno instead.

Just another shot of Grimaldus about to introduce the Retributors to Mr. Crozius. I can’t remember if any of his prayers got off, though.

Finally the Terminators moved up, hoping to this time make their charge on the Exorcist.

[In the shooting phase, the Incursors did 5 wounds to the Retributors…and I promptly failed all 5 saves. Argh. At least this denied Grimaldus a charge target. (Also, that was another juicy faith point for me– at those point I had gained quite a lot of them!)

Elsewhere in the shooting phase, a combination of grenades and pistols did 3 wounds to Kyganil. That though, was the extent of the Black Templars’ shooting ability at this point.

In the assault phase, the Master of Sancitty and Assault Intercessors went into Kyganil, the Terminators charged the Exorcist, and Helbrecht, now empowered by the power of prayer, charged both the Repentias and the Zephyrim, with Grimaldus charging into the Zephyrim as well.

The Terminators slammed home into the Exorcist, and used Fury of the First to reroll their misses. They landed plenty of hits…but then the dice absolutely betrayed my opponent, as he proceeded to roll nothing but 1s and 2s for this wounds. Against all mathematical odds, the Terminators did only 3 wounds to my Exorcist.

Elsewhere, the Master of Sancity and Assault Intercessors inflicted a predictably chainswordy death on Kyganil. And with that, the only xeno on the battlefield had been suitably purged. (Note: I had thought that there were only two Assault Intercessors left, but apparently there were three thanks to the Chief Apothecary’s ability to heal twice. Space Marines are confusing, okay?)

Finally, in the big central combat, Helbrecht unleashed something like 10 attacks thanks to a combination of Shock Assault, the Sword of the High Marshals and Fires of Devotion. He split his attacks, and inflicted 5 wounds on the Zephyrim…and then, through a combination of miracle dice and ridiculously good rolling, I made 4 of my 5 saves! At the very least, though, he managed to slash down my last 2 Repentia, giving them the death they so craved. Grimaldus also swung against the Zephyrim, but again, either whiffed against them or only killed one. In exchange, the Zephryim failed to hurt Helbrecht but did 2 wounds to Grimaldus.

After that ridiculously lucky round, it was my turn. Annoyed that the Templars had just so rudely killed her Eldar BFF, Ephrael went after the Master of Sanctity and his bros.

Elsewhere, the Seraphim moved onto the objective they had recently blasted Crusaders off of, the Dominions moved onto the objective they had been going after, my Canoness entered the building to deal with Grimaldus, and my castle shifted to bring as many guns to bear as they could on the Incursors. Also, my Missionary advanced up to get within shouting distance of my Zephyrim. Finally, my melta Battle Sister squad came in from strategic reserve. I brought them in on my upper left, where next turn they would hopefully be able to advance up and freem the Drop Pod off of the objective it was sitting on.

In the shooting phase, the heavy bolter Retributors, Battle Sisters and Canoness all poured fire into the Incursors, and when the dust settled, 4 of the 5 Primaris Marines had gone down. Elswhere, Ephrael again unleashed her Not-A-Smite ability and zapped down an Assault Intercessor, and the Exorcist, being able to shoot in combat, fired its missiles at point blank range into the Terminators and blasted apart two of them! Finally, my Dominions sitting on the objective were able suddenly in range of the Apothecary, who was too far from any Templar units to claim Look Out Sir. They loaded their Blessed Bolts, and proceeded to shred the healer in a storm of fire. No more resurrecting Templars!

In close combat, the Canoness charged Grimaldus. She rolled hot, in part thanks to the Passion, and proceeded to cleave the famous Chaplain in twain! The Hero of Helsreach…as if there were only one.

Meanwhile, Helbrecht once again swung against the Zephyrim. Once again, though, thanks to a combination of miracle dice and lucky rolling on my part, only one of the jet pack girls fell. In response, the Zephyrim slashed relentlessly into the High Marshal, inflicted an obscene number of wounds on him, and hacked him down! Somehow, I had just killed two Templar special characters in a row!

The other fight didn’t quite go in my favour, though, as Ephrael managed to inflict only 2 wounds on the Master of Sanctity, who swung back and dealt 2 wounds to her in return.

Finally, the remaining Terminators swung again into the Exorcist. With their numbers now greatly reduced, however, they whiffed again and failed to damage the pipe organ tank.

At this point, it was growing late, and after quickly doing some math in his head, my opponent conceded: while there was still a chance that he could kill my Exorcist, Ephrael, and possibly my Zephyrim (with his Intercessors) next turn, I would still be scoring a lot of objectives, Raising yet more Banners High, and still had more than enough firepower to threaten his remaining units.[4:12 PM]At the end, here was the projected end points we calculated based on how things were going. All I can say about the Sisters’ score is…nice.

RESULT: SISTERS OF BATTLE VICTORY!

It was a fun game, and some horribly unlucky moments for the Templars really swung it for me at crucial points, I think– specifically him failing to get Litany of Divine Protection off on the Intercessors turn 1, Becky surviving long enough to kill off the Drop Pod Crusader squad, and the ridiculous number of saves I made for the Zephyrim. Statistically, Helbrecht should have won that fight, especially given the absurd number of attacks he had on the charge: that the Zephyrim not only survived, but then proceeded to hack him down was nothing short of miraculous.

The one thing I will note about this game is that, as expected, it got bloody fast: by turn 1 our forces were already in combat or engaging in fierce close-ranged firefights either each other, and the aggressive nature of both our armies meant that we both took heavy casualties very early on. The fact that my opponent got that crucial first turn and managed to grab several objectives in the process (including sitting on one with a drop pod for a good long while) meant that he managed to take a very convincing early lead before my nasty firepower and combat units started to sweep him away. Had the game gone on further, I’m pretty confident that I would have been able to mop up his remaining forces, though damn if the Black Templars didn’t give me a bloody nose initially.

Anyway, that was another TTS battle report from me! Tune in next time, gentle readers, when my Sisters will take on…yet more Space Marines, apparently…

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