c. Rob Jenkins
Hello readers, its time for yet another short-form batrep from my ongoing jaunts into Tabletop Simulator. This time, my Sisters of Battle were up against those other paragons of the Imperium, the Ultramarines, in a casual 2000 point game.
My list was the same one as I had used previously against the Black Templars:
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
Starting CP: 5
Pre-Game Stratagems: Heroine in the Making, Venerated Saint, Open the Reliquaries
Overall, a plentiful bodies for scoring objectives, as well as a solid mix of firepower and close combat punch. The biggest downside to this list, though, is that because of the dual detachments and all of the pre-game stratagems I’ve used, I start the game with only a small number of command points. I am severely tempted to make future such lists use only a single detachment (or at the very least, to trade the Vanguard for a Patrol so I get at least one command point back).
My opponent, meanwhile, ran the following:
Primaris Chapter Master- master-crafted heavy bolt rifle, master-crafted power sword, Angel Artifice, Iron Resolve
Chaplain Cassius- Recitation of Focus, Canticle of Hate
Primaris Librarian- force sword, Might of Heroes, Psychic Fortress
8 Assault Intercessors- Sergeant w. Digital Weapons, Honoured Sergeant
5 Heavy Intercessors- heavy bolt rifles
Bladeguard Ancient- Standard of Macragge Inviolate
3 Bladeguard Veterans
Primaris Chief Apothecary- Artificer Armour, Selfless Healer, Hero of the Chapter
Redemptor Dreadnought- macro plasma incinerator, heavy flamer, 2 storm bolters
3 Inceptors- assault bolters
3 Eliminators- Sergeant w. Instigator bolt carbine
5 Hellblasters- plasma incinerators
Starting CP: 9
Pre-Game Stratagems: Hero of the Chapter, Honoured Sergeant, Relic of the Chapter
All in all, a fairly standard-looking Primaris Marine army, one with plenty of guns with which to take advantage of the Ultramarines’ special abilities. Of particular concern were those Heavy Intercessors– I had never faced off against them before, and was concerned both by their sheer tankiness and by the volume of fire they could put out. Otherwise, I was fairly confident that my Sororitas could take on the Marines reliably.
SCENARIO AND DEPLOYMENT
For this game, we were playing the Scorched Earth scenario. For our secondaries, we chose the following:
Sisters: Engage on All Fronts, Assassinate, Raise The Banners High
Ultramarines: Engage On All Fronts, Assassinate, Oath of Moment
Interestingly, we would both be trying to outmaneuver each other in this game and kill each other’s characters (though given that both of our respective sets of characters would be shielded by multiple screening units, this wouldn’t be an easy secondary objective for either of us to score). The crucial difference is that I would be trying to plant flags on as many objectives as possible, while my opponent would be trying to hold the center of the table for as long as possible.
Our deployment was as follows:
And with that, I won the roll off, and the game began.
On the right flank, the Mortifiers moved up to deal with the Hellblasters, while the Dominions edged forward, clearing the way for the Repentia Rhino. In the centre, Becky and her Celestians moved up, followed closely by the melta Battle Sister squad as they moved to grab the nearby objective.
Also in the centre, the melta Retributors and their two attendant Battle Sister squads moved up cautiously, surrounding my Warlady and the Imagifier for those protective bubbles, while the left flank Dominions advanced up to grab cover and hide from those scary Heavy Intercessors.
In the shooting phase, the rightmost Dominions used Blessed Bolts to try to take out the Eliminators. This was before I discovered that (1) I was just out of rapid fire range, and (2) the Eliminators were enjoying a 1+ cover save thanks to their assorted cover bonuses. I ended up firing them, the Celestians, the nearby Battle Sisters, and the heavy bolter Retributors at them…and by the time that assorted firestorm had ended, I had only killed one Eliminator and dealt a wound to the other. Given how those Eliminators could potentially target and kill my essential support characters, I was very concerned about their continued existence.
Meanwhile, the melta Retributors used Storm of Retribution to get range on the Redemptor Dreadnought: at long range, I managed to do 3 wounds to the big lug…and, thanks in part to the timely use of a miracle dice, I inflicted 17 wounds on the Dreadnought, annihilating it in one go despite Duty Eternal! WOOO! That was one scary bit of firepower I wouldn’t have to deal with. Elsewhere, the heavy bolter Retributors used their armorium cherubs to have two of their number shoot again at the Infiltrators, as I realized then that I really should get rid of them and their annoying 12″ bubble that negated deep striking. Alas, my opponent made a canny use of the Smokescreen stratagem, and when the dust settled only two Infiltrators went down. In retrospect, I really should have gone after those scary Outriders.
Last but by no means least, I had my Mortifiers split fire– two of them could see the Hellblasters, but one of them was blocked by a massive crate, and so was forced to shoot at the Eliminators instead. Again, predictably, all of the shots bounced off the Eliminators, and sadly only two Hellblasters went down. The Exorcist was forced to chip in, but after some bad rolling with its missiles, only managed to blast down another two– and the last one proceeded to pass his morale test.
In the Ultramarines turn, the one Infiltrator was promptly resurrected by the nearby Apothecary, while Cassius successfuly got off the Recitation of Focus for the Heavy Intercessors and the Canticle of Hate for the Outriders. The main Ultramarines battle-line shuffled around to get better line of sight on my Sororitas.
The notable exceptions, though, were the Outriders, who came zooming down to attack my right flank, and the Eradicators, who came from behind their cover to introduce my Mortifiers to a melta death. His Eliminators got down from their perch to take the centre of the battlefield, while the Assault Intercessors moved up to support them if need be.
In the psychic phase, the Librarian managed to cast Psychic Fortress on the vast majority of the Ultramarine battle line, despite me attempting to thwart it wth Purity of Faith, and for good measure cast Might of Heroes on…something, I’m not sure what, it might have been his Captain.
And then, in the shooting phase, I braced myself for all hell to break loose.The Outriders opened fire on the Celestians, and managed to mow down three of them, while some long-ranged pot shots from the Infiltraters managed to drop two of the nearby Dominions.
The Eradicators then concentrated all of their firepower upon the Mortifiers…but, but some miracle, only one of the giant flail-machines was melted to death. The last Hellblaster overcharged his plasma incinerator to add to the fire, but after feel no pain saves, only managed to deal one wound to the Mortifiers. The Eliminators split their fire, with the Sergeant dealing 2 wounds to my Imagifier while his buddy bounced off faith saves. Finally, the Heavy Intercessors let rip…but only two of them could draw line of sight, and proceeded to blast down two of my leftmost Battle Sisters.
Oh, and the Suppressors might have plinked a few wounds off of either my Exorcist or my Rhino, I can’t really remember. All in all, though, I had taken a lot less damage to Ultramarine shooting than I had anticipated.
In the dreaded assault phase, though, the Outriders revved up their engines and charged the Dominions. It was then that I realized what he was up to, as the moment he killed off my Dominions, he would be able to consolidate into my Rhino and dramatically slow down the advance of my Repentia. I braced myself for the flurry of chainsword attacks to come…and then, somehow, by what I can only call a miracle, the Outriders only managed to chop down one Dominion! Both of us were quite shocked by this, and the two remaining Dominions were doubtlessly just as surprised as they whiffed their return attacks. Everyone piled in, and the combat continued until next round, but for now, my Rhino was less trapped than I had expected it would be…although it would still have to navigate a very narrow bottleneck through those accursed Outriders
In my turn, with the Outriders now standing obligingly on my doorstep, Becky and her Celestian gal-pals moved up to give them a suitably chainsword-related welcome, after the Rhino managed to narrowly edge past them– I didn’t want to throw the Repentia in against the Outriders, hoping instead that they would be able to move further downfield to take the fight tot he Ultramarines’ battle-line. My right-flank Battle Sisters moved up to grab the objective that the Celestians had previously vacated, and the Mortifiers advanced up, hoping to get into a nice Holy Rage-induced assault range of both the Hellblasters and Eradicators. At least, that was the plan until they rolled a 1 on their advance, stifling that plan.
In the centre, my battle-line advanced up steadily but cautiously, not wanting to get charged by those annoying Assault Intercessors. I had a plan for the left flank, though– mainly, to bring the Zephyrim down on the far right and use them to hopefully massacre the Heavy Intercessors, and thus get rid of the bulk of the Ultramarines’ firepower. With this in mind, I moved my other Dominion squad out from behind cover to grab a nearby objective, banking on the Heavy Intercessors no longer being there the next turn.
And then, in came my reserves. In the centre, the Seraphim dropped in to provide a nice screen in front of my Retributors in case the Assault Intercessors got aggressive. They also promptly used Deadly Descent and fired their inferno pistols to great effect, freeming both of the remaining Eliminators. Woot!
On the far upper left corner of the battlefield, the Zephyrim also came down along with Ephrael and Kyganil, with the Zephyrim hoping to get a charge on the Heavy Intercessors from outside of their line of sight.
In the shooting phase, the Mortifiers blazed away at the Eradicators, but whiffed completely. The Exorcist attempted to help them out, but after an equally dismal round of shooting, only managed to blast down one of the melta-toting Marines.
The heavy bolter Retributors, meanwhile, turned their attentions to the Infiltrators, and this time managed to blast down another two of them.
In the centre, it turns out I was being WAAAAY too cautious with my Retributors, only a handful of multi-meltas found range on the Assault Intercessors. Not wanting to spend the command points on Storm of Fire again, I fired what I could, and managed to freem down two of the Assault Intercessors, though at least the armour-piercing pistols and overcharging plasma pistol of the Seraphim managed to drop two more. As an encore, on the left flank, the Dominions fired on the Heavy Intercessors: as I was running low on command points, I chose not to use Blessed Bolts, and ended up failing to do any damage.
In the assault phase, the Zephyrim made their long charge thanks to their bright, shiny pennant, swooped into combat with the Heavy Intercessors.
The Mortifiers, meanwhile, used Holy Rage and charged the last, lone Hellblaster….
…while Becky and her Celestians easily made their charge against the Outriders.
In close combat, the Zephyrim used Tear Them Down, and unleashed a whole crapload of power sword attacks on the Heavy Intercessors. It was only then, in that one tragic moment, that I remembered that the Librarian had cast Psychic Fortress earlier, giving everyone in range a tasty 5+ invulnerable save (not to mention the Apothecary and his 6+ FNP bubble). After all was said and done, the Zephryim still managed to slice apart three of the Heavy Intercessors, but thanks to a combination of good rolling and the nearby Standard of Macragge, the big lugs managed to bludgeon down two Zephyrim in return. Not quite the knockout blow I had been hoping for, as the Heavy Intercessors were still alive, and could still be resurrected by that damned Apothecary.
Elsewhere, Becky got Benificence running, and managed to chop down one of the Outriders after some admittedly poor rolling. The Celestians, though, performed surprisingly well, and managed to bring down another Outrider (with the Celestian Superior in particular managing quite a few wounds after scoring some 5 hits on her own). In return, the Outrider cut down one of the remaining Dominions, and everyone piled in.
Finally, the Mortifiers, perhaps unsuprisingly, tore the last Hellblaster to shreds with their 30 attacks, and then piled into the nearby Eradicators. Said Eradicators then swung at the Mortifiers, but did no damage whatsoever.
In the Ultramarines turn, Cassius once again cast Recitation of Focus on the Heavy Intercessors, before granting the Assault Intercessors Canticle of Hate. The Heavy Intercessors, unsurprisingly, fell back, and the Zephyrim soon found themselves surrounded by a lost of nasty Bladeguard, Suppressors and characters. To rub salt in the sounds, the Apothecary then healed up one of the Intercessors who had fell previously.
The Eradicators, similarly, fell back. At this point they pretty much had one last chance to destroy the Mortifiers before they shared the fate of the Hellblasters.
Elsewhere, the Assault Intercessors moved up to the centre of the table to claim Oath of Moment, while Cassius moved up into buffing range of both them and the nearby Infiltrators.
On the right flank, the last Outrider disengaged form combat, and zoomed up to threaten my Battle Sisters guarding the objective on that flank.
Finally, near the back of my lines, the Inceptors arrived, ready to give me a taste of my own medicine and unleash heavy bolter death on some Sororitas.
In the psychic phase, the Librarian, once again cast Psychic Fortress, and cast Might of Heroes on the Chapter Master. In the ensuing shooting phase, one Zephyrim went down to assorted pistol fire, while the Suppressors fired into Ephrael but, thanks in part to her -1 to hit ability, only managed to do 2 wounds to her. The Heavy Intercessors and newly-arrived Inceptors then concentrated all of their fire on the Dominions and, perhaps predictably, annihilated the poor girls.
On the right flank, the Eradicators fired at point blank range into the Mortifiers. Some extraordinary whiffing occured, however, and at the end one Mortifier had been reduced to one wound, but that was that. At this point, I was really starting to feel bad for my opponent’s poor luck with the Eradicators. To sort of make up for it, though, his Assault Intercessors managed to plink down two Retributors with their heavy bolt pistols. Finally, the last Outrider managed to blast down one Battle Sister with his twin bolt rifles.
In the assault phase, the Bladeguard, Chapter Master and Apothecary all made their charges into the Zephyrim, while the Suppressors tried to charge Ephrael but fell short. The Inceptors, though, did manage to make their long charge into the reduced Battle Sister squad holding the objective on my left flank. Finally, my opponent used the Fall Back and Re-Engage strategem to send his Outrider into my Battle Sisters.
In the ensuing melee phase, the Zephyrim, unsurprisingly, were wiped out. After conslidation, Ephrael and Kyganil were still screened out from the majority of the Ultramarine army, but they were grievously outnumbered.
Meanwhile, the Inceptors managed to clobber down two of the Battle Sisters, though the last one passed the ensuing morale phase and grimly held onto her objective.
On the other end of the battlefield, the Outrider similarly chopped through two Battle Sisters, leaving only one standing. I think I used a miracle dice here to have her automatically pass morale, meaning I still had at least one scoring model in that area of the board.
In my turn, both sole surviving Battle Sisters disengaged from combat. On my right flank, the Celestians moved to grab another objective, while Becky moved up to deal with the Outrider in case the Celestians’ melta guns failed to do the job.
The Rhino moved up to the middle of the board, ready to disembark my Repentia next turn, while the Mortifiers moved up to finish off the Eradicators. (At this point I was honestly shocked that the Mortifiers were still alive, as the usually die by turn 2 at the latest). In the center, my units moved up to get into rapid fire range of the Assault Intercessors, with the Seraphim in particular flying up close to freem them with their pistols. On the upper left flank, Ephrael and Kyganil both moved up to threaten the Ultramarine backline (and by threaten, I really mean be a distraction for as long as possible).
The shooting phase would prove to be utterly lethal. While Ephrael only managed to do one wound to the Suppressors with her totally-not-psychic special attack, the Celestians did manage to vaporize the last Outrider with their meltaguns. The Mortifiers blasted down one Eradicator, while the heavy bolter Retributors annihilated the last three Infiltrators. In the centre, a combination of shooting from the Retributors and Seraphim similarly wiped out the Assault Intercessors, despite a timely application of Transhuman Physiology. As an encore, the Canoness drew the Wrath of the Emperor and blasted down one Inceptor, before the Exorcist let rip and destroyed the other two in a flurry of missiles. In a single round of shooting, I had just inflicted devastating casualties all across the Ultramarine battle line.
In the assault phase, Ephrael launched herself in a charge on the Suppressors, though Kyganil failed his charge and was unable to join her.
The Mortifiers charged the last Eradicator, and my Repentia Rhino, in an effort to edge a little closer to the Ultramarine lines, charged Cassius.
In the ensuing melee, Ephrael whiffed and only managed to kill one Suppressor, though she took no damage in return. The Mortifiers, unsurprisingly, tower the last Eradicator to power-armoured shreds. Finally, the Rhino completely failed to hurt Cassius, who bonked two wounds off of it in return.
With his options now looking a lot more limited, my opponent consolidated where he could. Cassius prayed to give the Suppressors Recitation of Focus, and gave himself Catechism of Hate. The Suppressors flew out of combat with Ephrael and hid behind the building to say hi to Kyganil.
The rest of the Ultramarine characters continued to castle around the Bladeguard, though the Heavy Intercessors stomped southwards along with the Librarian and Apothecary to go claim an objective. The Apothecary might have healed someone at this point, but I can’t quite remember. Also, Cassius fell back from combat and moved up to turn his ire upon the annoying Seraphim.
In the psychic phase, the Librarian, surprisingly, failed to cast Psychic Fortress! He still buffed someone (either himself or the Chapter Master) with Might of Heroes, but the Ultramarines’ shooty castle was now looking a lot weaker.
In the shooting phase, the Suppressors blasted down poor Kyganil, while a combination of pistols and parting shots from the Heavy Intercessors mowed down Ephrael. Finally, Cassius unleashed his special combi-flamer upon the Seraphim, but failed to get past their armour.
Deciding that he would succeed through bonks where he had failed through flames, Cassius used Fall Back and Re-Engage to charge the Seraphim. He was immediately met by a wall of overwatch, and took three wounds to a lucky melta hit. All the same, he made it in and proceeded to smash down two of my jetpack girls. In return, the Seraphim struck back with a flurry of armour-piercing attacks and…somehow…managed to club down Cassius’ remaining wounds, felling him. Huh.
At this point, as it was growing quite late, my opponent decided to call it here. We were both very curious to see how the game would have progressed if it had been allowed to go another turn, but this point I was not only enjoying a significant lead in points, but the Ultramarines had also lost most of their army and had been isolated into a corner of the table.
RESULT: SISTERS OF BATTLE VICTORY!
Thoughts: I honestly think that I didn’t out-play my opponent in this game so much as got absurdly lucky. Statistically, my opponent’s Hellblasters and Eradicators should have killed my Mortifiers off on turn 2 at the latest, if not turn 1, and I made a lot of flukey saves against his massed firepower and against the melee attacks of his Outriders. And I’m not even going to get into my opponent’s ludicrously bad luck with Cassius. It was this luck, in part, that allowed me to win in spite of some truly boneheaded moves (such as that suicidal attack by both the Zephyrim and by Ephrael and Kyganil, for example, or the bad placement of my Repentias that left them out of the game).
Beyond that, my strong right flank push worked, allowing me to dominate that side of the board and grab all of the objectives there, and my firepower was strong enough to punish any Ultramarines who ventured beyond the protective bubble of their Librarian and Apothecary. This battle got me re-thinking how many units I’m putting in reserve, however, or whether or not Ephrael and Kyganil are worth their points: I had only taken them in the first place as an amusing, fluffy choice, but so far they haven’t been having much of an impact in my games other than by giving me yet another unit that can deep strike and grab a table quarter.
With the new Sisters of Battle codex on the way, I’m going to be hoping to shift away from my Sororitas for a while and instead trying to focus on the Drukhari (where I can). Then again, with me having had my shot of the vaccine and the world slowly inching back towards normalcy, who knows, perhaps I’ll be actually able to game on a physical tabletop again soon. One can only hope.
Till next time, readers!