Batrep #4: Apocalypse

(art by Games Workshop)

When chronicles of the Indomitus Crusade look back to what is now known as the Battle of Desolation Row, there is much dispute as to the cause of this battle– who fired the first shot, why it escalated to the point that it did, and what ultimately could have possessed loyal servants of the Emperor to take up arms and wage war against one another.

What is certainly known is that the battle erupted in the final stages of the cleansing of Hive Steele on Tarantulus IV. By this point, the Chaos-worshipping rebellion on the planet had been mostly defeated, its armies annihilated in open battle and its demogues slain. The last vestiges of resistance occupied an industrial district of the Hive, nicknamed “Desolation Row” by Imperial forces due to the fact that it had been largely abandoned when the shelling of the Hive had first began. The honour of cleansing this district went to the Astartes of the Storm Angels chapter, the Sororitas of the Order of the Blessed Damsel, and numerous Astra Militarum and Questor Imperialis support. Minimal resistance was encountered, and two hours into the operation, the district was declared free of Archenemy forces.

No one knows who then fired the first shot, or why. Perhaps the Storm Angels, afflicted as they were by the genetic curse of the Blood Angels, succumbed to madness and mistook their allies for yet more foes. Perhaps the Sororitas knew of the curse, and saw their erstwhile allies as little better than unclean mutants. Perhaps, indeed, one of the Inquisitors overseeing the operation was responsible, acting perhaps out of some suspicion of heresy on the Storm Angels’ part or, indeed, out of the rumour that the Astartes had time-displaced Luna Wolves serving in their ranks. There remain unconfirmed reports from after the battle that there was an unsanctioned communique sent to the battlezone that may be responsible, but who it was sent from, to who, and what it contained all remain mysteries to this day.

What is known is that, within minutes of Desolation Row having been declared purged, the Astartes and the Sororitas suddenly began to open fire on one another. Confusion reigned, and the supporting Imperial units, unsure of what was happening, quickly took sides. What began as a firefight quickly escalated into a much larger conflict, and soon one of the most tragic battles of the Indomitus Crusade began…

A while back, my LGS held a weekend Apocalypse game. I had only heard about it the night before, and so the following morning I hurriedly packed everything in my Imperial collection and rushed off. (Well, not everything. I had forgotten my Grey Knights and most of my Assassins, but I digress). I had barely managed to compile a list on Battlescribe the night before, and so had a semi-decent 3500-ish points to work with. I was feeling somewhat prepared when I arrived at the store…

…and found only one other player there. After the store managers asked us to wait for a bit, they ultimately decided to go ahead with it and have us battle it out with our full, Apocalyptic collections in a one on one game.

I had brought the following:

ORDER OF THE BLESSED DAMSEL (with allies from House Wynngarde, the Inquisition and the Officio Assassinorum):

ADEPTUS MINISTORUM BATTALION DETACHMENT
Saint Celestine- 2 Geminae Superiae, Legendary Fighter
Inquisitor Greyfax- Mental Fortitude
15 Battle Sisters- flamer, heavy flamer, Sister Superior w. combi flamer
5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer
-Immolator- Immolation flamer
5 Battle Sisters- flamer, heavy flamer
-Immolator- Immolation flamer
Imagifier
Imagifier
Sister Dialogous
Callidus Assassin
6 Retributors- 4 heavy bolters
Exorcist
Exorcist

ADEPTUS MINISTORUM VANGUARD DETACHMENT
Uriah Jacobus
Ministorum Priest- laspistol, eviscerator
Ministorum Priest- bolt pistol, power maul
9 Arco-Flagellants
-Rhino

ADEPTUS MINISTORUM OUTRIDER DETACHMENT
Canoness- bolt pistol, Blade of Admonition
9 Seraphim- 2 hand flamers
5 Dominions- 4 meltaguns
-Rhino
5 Dominions- 4 meltaguns
-Immolator- twin multi-melta

SUPER-HEAVY AUXILIARY DETACHMENT
Knight Warden “Galemourn”- meltagun, Stormspear missile launcher

As is the case with a lot of my games, there were a lot of things that I was experimenting with in this list. In particular, the Greyfax, the Seraphim, and the Canoness (or more importantly, the Blade of Admonition) were all getting their 8th edition test runs…as was, more importantly, the Knight, which had been sitting unused on my shelf since late 7th ed, begging me for a chance to use him. I could think of no better a field test than an Apocalypse game. Another experiment was the big walking blob of Battle Sisters: I wanted to see how well they performed, and was particularly interested to see if I could get off massed double-tapping volleys of bolter fire with them through faith points.

My opponent, meanwhile, brought:

THE STORM ANGELS (with allied Astra Militarum from an unknown regiment)

BLOOD ANGELS BRIGADE:

The Sanguinor- Heroic Bearing
Captain- Angel’s Wing, thunder hammer, storm shield
Lemartes
Sanguinary Priest- jump pack, thunder hammer
Primaris Lieutenant- bolt pistol, power sword
Primaris Lieutenant- Stalker bolt rifle
5 Tactical Marines- heavy flamer
-Razorback- twin assault cannon
5 Tactical Marines- heavy flamer
-Razorback- twin assault cannon
5 Tactical Marines- meltagun, Sergeant w. inferno pistol (painted as Luna Wolves)
-Rhino
5 Tactical Marines- meltagun, Sergeant w. inferno pistol
5 Tactical Marines- heavy flamer
5 Tactical Marines- heavy flamer
Company Ancient
Contemptor Dreadnought- Kheres assault cannon
10 Death Company- jump packs, 4 power swords, 4 thunder hammers
10 Sanguinary Guard- death masks, 2 inferno pistols, 1 plasma pistol, 3 power fists
Sanguinary Ancient- power fist, death mask
3 Aggressors- Boltstorm cannons
10 Assault Marines- 2 meltaguns, Sergeant w. inferno pistol & power sword
10 Devastators- lascannon, missile launcher, 2 heavy bolters
10 Devastators- lascannon, missile launcher, 2 heavy bolters

ASTRA MILITARUM BATTALION:

Company Commander- Kurov’s Aquila
Tempestor Prime- Tempestus command rod
10 Guardsmen- flamer
10 Guardsmen- flamer
10 Guardsmen- flamer
Militarum Tempestus Command Squad- 2 plasma guns, 2 hotshot volley guns
Heavy Weapons Squad- 3 lascannons

Full disclaimer: this is actually half of what my opponent brought for the Apocalypse game. When it came down to determining the points value/power level, my opponent was forced to hastily set aside half of his army, which included most of his tanks, and a large portion of his Militarum Tempestus and transports. This still left him, though, with a lot of characters and a lot of scary units– I was particularly daunted by his giant unit of Sanguinary Guard. My opponent was quick to point out that the real one I would have to watch out for, though, was his Captain– who, thanks to a horrendous combination of relics, warlord trait and stratagems, had apparently smashed down even the likes of Mortarion in the past, and had earned the internet sobriquet of “Slamguinius.”

 

MISSION:

The game was a standard Apocalypse mission, with victory points per unit destroyed or for every 3 wounds on a Super-Heavy (something I forgot about until much later). Also, as this was only a one on one game instead of the sprawling multiplayer affair we had both been expecting, we both agreed to use only Warlords instead of Warmasters.

DEPLOYMENT:

I set up the giant 15-girl blob of Sisters in the centre, supported by most of the characters, with the Arco-Flagellants, the Knight and Celestine all hovering nearby. The plan at the time was to use the Battle Sisters as an anvil to set up multiple counter-attacks by my hammers.

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A wider look at the battlefield. My transports are spread across the field so that my other Battle Sisters can lend fire support as needed. I also had a squad of Dominions and an Exorcist on each of the flanks, and the Seraphim, Retributors and one of the Imagifiers on the right. The Callidus, naturally, was in reserve.

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In response my opponent deployed a big line of red, gold and jade. The Sanguinary Guard, supporting characters and Dreadnought occupied the right flank, along with his Devastators, some Guardsmen, his Company Commander, Heavy Weapons and a Tactical Squad.

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His transports occupied the centre along with his Assault Marines, Death Company, Aggressors, more Tactical Marines, more Guardsmen and his Scions.

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Before the game began, my opponent used the Death Visions of Sanguinius stratagem to give him +1 attack on the charge and ignoring wounds on a 6.

I won the roll off to go first, and gladly took it. Let the purging of space vampires commence!

TURN 1

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My turn began with a crisis of faith, as I failed to get any faith points off (even with a command point reroll). The best I was able to do was use Celestine’s free faith point to propel the Seraphim up the right flank. My plan, at the time, was to use the Seraphim to harass and slow down enemy forces on that flank, particularly that scary unit of Sanguinary Guard. Elsewhere, my Dominions…actually advanced more cautiously, edging up but not going zooming up full speed ahead. Looking back, I can’t decide if I made the right call, or if I should have sent them on full speed ahead to go blow something up.

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In the movement phase, the Sisters blob moved up in the centre to get into bolter range. On the right flank, the Seraphim flew straight onwards, while the Knight, Dominions and Celestine all advanced a little cautiously. Finally, on the left, my Dominions’ Immolator took cover against the side of a building, both to take shelter from the Devastators and to be ready to drop meltaguns on the Blood Angel transports the moment they got close enough. Finally, my other Immolators hugged cover, ready to support my blob squad and/or advance into burninating range as needed. The general idea was to wait for the Blood Angels to come to me.

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In the psychic phase, Greyfax cast Mental Fortitude on the Sisters blob, no doubt reassuring them that this was in no way witchcraft. In the shooting phase, though, the Seraphim let rip on the Guardsmen right in front of them with bolt and flame, burning down 8 of them and clearing a path to the Tactical Squad and Contemptor beyond. My right flank Exorcist followed up by doing 3 wounds to the Contemptor, while the Retributors blasted down 2 of the Tactical Marines next to it. In the centre, the large squad of Battle Sisters fired their bolters at long range and killed 7 of the leftmost Guardsmen, while the left Exorcist plinked 3 wounds off of the leftmost Razorback.

Then, finally, the Knight opened up. Its Avenger gatling cannon whirred to life, firing at the Aggressors…and proceeded to shred all three of them in one volley! To make things even better, its Stormspear missile launcher fired at the distant Heavy Weapons Teams, accurately hitting and killing all three lascannon teams! At that moment, I was quite amazed at just how brutal the Knight was.

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In close combat, my Seraphim multi-charged both the Contemptor and the Tactical Marines, aiming to tie them up and then fall back out of combat to shoot more stuff at his rear lines. This turned out to be a horrendous idea: the Seraphim suffered four losses in overwatch. After making it into combat, they proceeded to flail uselessly at their opponents…and then get wiped out with contemptuous ease. Well, that was a bad plan. In the morale phase, at least, I was consoled when both squads of Guardsmen I had shot at evaporated from morale.

In the Blood Angels turn, a wall of tanks came zooming towards my massed Sisters, with Death Company and Assault Marines jetting up in their wake. I was rapidly getting the impression that things were about to get extremely bloody in the centre.

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On the right flank, Guardsmen moved up, and a Lieutenant moved up alongside the Company Commander to bolster the Devastators and the Sanguinary Guard.

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Speaking of whom, the Sanguinary Guard and their attendant characters moved up as well, screened by the remaining Tactical Marines and the friendly neighbourhood Contemptor.

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In the shooting phase, my opponent had a lot of firepower to dole out. On the right flank, the Knight took fire from lascannons, missiles, Kheres assault cannons and even bolters, and under this withering hail of fire took 9 wounds, leaving it just barely clinging to its first level of damage. The Company Commander ordered the last Guard squad to First Rank Fire on the behemoth, but thankfully, I was spared the ignominy of it being damaged by lasguns. On the left flank, the Tempestor Prime ordered his squad to use Elimination Protocols on the Dominions’ Immolator. After all was said and done, both my  left Immolator and rightmost Rhino took a few wounds.

Finally, in the centre, my poor Battle Sisters were hit with assault cannons, heavy bolters, storm bolters and miscellaneous other weapons. 7 Sisters went down, almost half the squad, but thanks to Greyfax’s mind control…er, I mean, inspiring leadership…they suffered no further losses to morale.

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By the end of the turn, I hadn’t lost anything to enemy firepower (thankfully), but some of my units were beginning to take some serious damage. Next turn, I would have to deal with the Blood Angels’ firepower somehow…and at the same time deal with that scary golden death star that was coming my way.

SCORE: 5-1
Sisters of Battle: 5
Blood Angels: 1

TURN 2

At the start of my turn, faith points actually started to go off for a change. Celestine faith-jumped forwards, while the Retributors opened fire on the Tactical Marines who had all too recently killed the Seraphim, mowing down one. The Battle Sisters on foot, in turn, fired at the damaged Razorback, but failed to do any damage to it.

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In the movement phase, Celestine flew around to the flank of the big Sanguinary Guard unit, while the Knight stomped up onto the hill in front of the Tactical Marines and Contemptor. The plan was to get rid of both of these units with shooting so that the Knight and Celestine could tag-team his Sanguinary Guard– a risky proposition, but I had to deal with that death star somehow. To support them, my rightmost Dominions disembarked and moved up to deal with the Contemptor. Elsewhere, my rightmost Immolator wheeled up onto a hill to target another squad of Guardsmen, while in the centre, the depleted Battle Sisters moved back, while the leftmost Dominions moved up to target line of oncoming Razorbacks. Between the Dominions and Battle Sisters, I made sure that there were few areas that his Death Company could jump down on to to go after my Battle Sisters/characters. My Rhino carrying the Arco-Flagellants also edged up, the cargo inside ready to bail out and counter-attack once the inevitable Blood Angel onslaught came.

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Last but by no means least, my Callidus Assassin came out of hiding near one of his Devastator squads, as I figured I needed to neutralize if not tie up his shooting. In response, though, my opponent used the Auspex Scan stratagem to have his Devastators fire immediately at the Callidus; I was forced to watch in helpless surprise as my poor Assassin took a lascannon beam and several dozen bolter rounds to the face, killing her in mid-dramatic entrance. Okay, that was just rude.

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In the psychic phase, Greyfax against cast Mental Fortitude on the Sisters on foot. In the shooting phase, the multi-melta Immolator did 3 wounds to the leftmost Razorback, before the Dominions fired and finished it off. As the Tactical Marines bailed out, my centre Immolator then burned down one of them.

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The rest of my shooting in the centre was dismal, however, with my Battle Sisters, Exorcist and characters all managing to do only three wounds to the other Razorback.

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On the right flank, the other Immolator burninated 8 of the last squad of Guardsmen, while the Retributors mowed down the last 2 Tactical Marines. The Dominions then fired on the Contemptor…and only did a dismal 3 wounds to it. The Exorcist was forced to pick up the slack, firing a salvo of missile and blasting off its last wounds. The Exorcist must have hit something vital, though, as the Contemptor proceeded to explode, killing a Geminae and two Dominions, wounding a Sanguinary Guard, the Ancient and the Priest, and most of all, doing 3 wounds to the Knight, bringing it into its second tier of damage! In death, the Contemptor had done far more damage than in life.

Unfortunately for me, in its damaged state the Knight was now hitting on 4s. It unleashed all of its guns on the nearby Sanguinary Guard…and when the dust had cleared, had only killed 3 of them, despite the sheer volume of armour-piercing, multi-damage fire I had thrown their way. For whatever it was worth, Celestine then fired at the Sanguinary Guard and flamed a wound off of one of them.

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In the charge phase, the Knight thundered into the Sanguinary Guard, shrugging off their overwatch, while Celestine charged in as well, before the Sanguinor, Sanguinary Priest and Ancient all heroically intervened. In close combat, the Knight unleashed 12 attacks with his big stompy feet…and whiffed horribly, killing only one of them. Celestine, at least, showed him how it was done, killing three Sanguinary Guard while her Geminae wounded a fourth. In exchange, I was reminded then and there of the Blood Angels’ special rule, which, thanks in part to the Sanguinary Priest, saw them wounding the Knight on 4s (and on 2s with power fists). The Blood Angels tore 8 wounds off of my Knight, leaving it teetering on 4, while the Sanguinor hacked down the last Geminae and did 3 wounds to Celestine.

By the end of combat, my glorious charge had fizzled, and although I had severely reduced the Sanguinary Guard, now I was in very real danger of losing two of my most hard-hitting units. The last two Guardsmen, at least, went poof in the morale phase.

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(Incidentally, one thing I realize that I could have, and probably should have done this phase was to charge the left Dominions into the surviving Razorback or the Rhino. This would not only have given the squad inside less room to disembark, but, in the case of the Razorback, would have kept it from shooting for a turn. That’s hindsight for you).

In the Blood Angel turn, everything withdrew from combat against the Knight except for the Sanguinary Guard, who kept the behemoth locked. The Captain, however, powered up his thunder hammer and flew in to say hi.

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Meanwhile, the Assault Marines flew up to deal with my rightmost Immolator, and in the centre, all of the Blood Angel transports disgorged their contents, flooding the centre of my deployment zone with angry Tactical Marines (including his Luna Wolves squad).

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If that wasn’t enough, the Death Company and Lemartes flew up onto the building overlooking my centre, looking for a potential multi-charge on my strung out Battle Sisters and vehicles. Oh joy.

In the shooting phase, the Tempestor Prime once again ordered Elimination Protocols on the Scions, and combined with the nearby Tactical Squad to plink a few more wounds off of the melta Immolator. The Assault Marines combined their fire with a squad of Devastators to wreck my rightmost Immolator, sending the Battle Sisters inside bailing out. The other squad of Devastators murdered my hapless squad of Dominions on the right flank, while in the centre, massed assault cannons and bolters shredded my other Dominion squad. Plasma and melta fire further damaged my centre-most Immolator, though by some miracle, my central Battle Sister squad only took one casualty. Given the losses my army had just taken, though, that was a small comfort.

In the charge phase, the Captain charged the Knight, while the Sanguinor, thanks to his special rules, charged back into combat with Celestine. In the centre, the Death Company multi-charged my Battle Sisters and melta Immolator, losing one to a heavy flamer and another to multi-meltas along the way, while two Tactical Squads multi-charged the Battle Sisters and my Dialogous. In response, Greyfax heroically intervened against the Death Company, as did the Canoness, though the latter was only able to get into base contact with Lemartes.

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In close combat, the Captain swung out with his thunder hammer and inflicted 12 wounds, horrendously overkilling my poor Knight. Despite my hopes, the big guy did not explode, and thanks to the scenario rules, my opponent immediately gained 8 points for killing my Lord of War. Goodbye, big guy, I only knew you for two turns. (*Sniff*) The Sanguinor, meanwhile, wasted no time chopping poor Celestine down…though thankfully, the Living Saint then magically resurrected all the way on the other side of the battlefield, far out of cheesy Auspex range of the Devastators. (In retrospect, perhaps I should have brought her a bit closer to the big scrum in the centre).

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Finally, in the centre, carnage happened: the Death Company effortlessly smashed apart my Immolator and shredded the remnants of my Battle Sister squad, while the Luna Wolves did 3 wounds to the Sister Dialogous.

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I used a pair of command points to interrupt with the Canoness, eager to test out the Blade of Admonition. The Canoness did 3 wounds to Lemartes…and then my opponent proceeded to make all three of his invulnerable saves, before clubbing four wounds off of my Canoness in turn! Argh! The only highlight of this round was Greyfax, who fearlessly stood her ground and cut down two of the Death Company.

To make a bad turn even worse, at the end of the round, the Death Company consolidated into my other Immolator, leaving it unfortunately unable to shoot next turn. In retrospect, that had been my fault for leaving it so close, but still…argh.

SCORE:
Sisters of Battle- 9
Blood Angels- 15

TURN 3

At the start of my turn, things were looking grim. My Knight was down, I had suffered horrible losses, and while my Battle Sister trap had worked (sort of), I was still falling behind on points. Thankfully, I had plenty of faith points this turn. I had Celestine jump closer towards the centre, ready to join the big mass melee in the centre if need be, while one of her Geminae spontaneously resurrected. I debated healing up the Canoness, but, figuring that she wasn’t going to last long in that big melee anyway, instead had her swing out at the Death Company, hacking down three of the crazed lunatics. Finally, my Retributors fired at the Assault Marines, but only managed to fell one of the Blood Angels.

In the movement phase, I got to do what I was waiting for all game: [dramatic voice]release the Arco-Flagellants![/dramatic voice] The murder-cyborgs and their attendant Priest piled out of their Rhino and moved into charge range of the nicely compressed mass of Blood Angels. Elsewhere, the rightmost Battle Sisters, after losing their Immolator, edged back (hopefully) out of line of sight of the Blood Angels’ guns; the Dominions’ Rhino moved in in turn to shield them. Further near enemy lines, I did some pre-measuring and realized that unfortunately, Celestine wouldn’t make it into the central scrum without a really long charge, one that could potentially leave her exposed to fire from the Devastators. Instead, I flew her and her Geminae up to deal with the rightmost unit of Tactical Marines and their Scion buddies.

Finally, the Dialogous and Immolator withdrew from combat, content to let other people do the punching and the stabbing and whatnot.

In the psychic phase, Greyfax cast Smite and freemed down another three Death Company, leaving just one hammer-wielding psycho left. In the shooting phase, the Retributors again unloaded on the Assault Marines, and mowed down three of them. The two Rhinos then combined fire with their storm bolters, and to my pleasant surprise, blasted down three more! The rightmost Exorcist fired a salvo of missiles at the Sanguinary Guard, blasting apart two of them and leaving just one remaining. Last but not least, the leftmost Exorcist, lacking much else in the way of targets, blew away three Scions, while Celestine pointed with her sword and burninated the fourth.

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Then came the part I had been waiting for: the Arco-Flagellants charged into the Blood Angel Tactical Marines, while elsewhere, Celestine and her Geminae multi-charged both the leftmost Tactical Squad and the Tempestor Prime. In close combat, the Arco-Flagellants went to town, unleashing something like 52 rerollable strength 5 attacks, wiping out one Tactical Squad and reducing the Luna Wolves to just one very shocked Marine. The Canoness, meanwhile, swung again at Lemartes and this time managed to get a hit past his save, dealing 3 wounds to him and leaving him hanging on 1. Lemartes, however, took umbrage to this and proceeded to smash the Canoness down, ending that particular duel. Greyfax did no better, failing to repeat her earlier success and taking 3 wounds from a thunder hammer.

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On the other side of the field, Celestine elegantly hacked down 4 Tactical Marines, before her Geminae stabbed down the fifth. In return, the Tempestor Prime swung wildly with his command rod, but failed to do little more than mildly annoy the Living Saint.

At the end of the turn, the remaining Assault Marines evaporated from morale despite the And They Shall Know No Fear reroll. After consolidation, the last Blood Angels were nicely surrounded– save, that was, for Lemartes, who, now no longer engaged with anyone, was free to consolidate out of combat. I had, for the time being, taken the lead again in points, though retaining that lead would be tricky.

At the start of the Blood Angel turn, I had figured that Celestine was safely out of reach those nasty Blood Angel characters. My opponent proceeded to show me just how wrong I was, though, using the Upon Wings of Fire strategem to teleport his Captain across the board behind Celestine (prompting an “Okay, seriously, what?” from me). Lemartes, meanwhile, flew over the combat to confront Uriah Jacobus, and the last two Tactical Squads moved up towards the central combat. The last Razorback, meanwhile shuffled to get line of site to my disembarked Battle Sisters, and the remaining Blood Angel characters and the last Sanguinary Guard. no doubt wanting to conserve points, flew and hid behind the closest unit of Devastators.

In the shooting phase, the Devastators combined their fire to destroy my Dominions’ Rhino, exposing the Battle Sisters hiding behind it. Said Battle Sisters were then shot at by the Razorback, which did 5 wounds…and I proceeded to fail all 5 saves, wiping out the squad! ARGH! As a painful encore, Lemartes threw a grenade at Uriah and blasted 3 wounds off of him. Oh, well that was just rude.

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In the assault phase, Lemartes charged Uriah, prompting a heroic intervention by the power maul-armed Priest. The Tactical Marines charged the Arco-Flagellants, and the Captain charged Celestine (I think he might have used the Descent of Angels strategem to do so).

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In close combat, Lemartes and Uriah had a nice theological debate, one that ended with Lemartes bludgeoning Uriah into the ground. Vengeance was swift, however, as the angry lesser Priest bludgeoned down Lemartes in turn, putting an end to the crazy Chaplain’s rampage. In the big central combat, meanwhile, the two Tactical Squads combined to smash down one Arco-Flagellant and wound another. In exchange, the Arco-Flagellants went berserk, wiping out one of the new Tactical Squads and killing four from another, leaving one lonely Marine to face them. As an encore, the Priest accompanying the Arcos hacked down the last Luna Wolf with her eviscerator. It was all too late to save Greyfax, though, as she was pasted by the thunder hammer of the last Death Company Marine.

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Finally, in the big title fight, the Captain used the Red Rampage stratagem to gain 8 attacks(!!!!). I braced myself as the Captain inflicted a bucketload of hits and wounds on Celestine. The last Geminae was quickly obliterated, and the tension was palpable as I rolled my saves. Somehow, by some miracle, Celestine weathered the storm of thunder hammer blows, still clinging to one wound. In return, I was faced with a conundrum: whether to have Celestine kill the Tempestor Prime and go for an easy point, or whether to do the cinematic thing and swing back at the Captain. In the end, I decided that an epic clash between heroes like this couldn’t be ignored, and had Celestine direct all of her attacks back at the Captain…only for them to bounce off his storm shield. The Tempestor Prime, meanwhile, whiffed his attacks again.

For a moment, I thought that Celestine was going to survive another round…until my opponent announced he was using the Honour the Chapter stratagem to strike again. This time, there was no miracle of the dice to save me: the Captain swung again, pulverizing the Living Saint with a storm of thunder hammer blows, netting my opponent Slay the Warlord and leaving me cursing his stratagems yet again.

SCORE:
Sisters of Battle- 16
Blood Angels: 21
TURN 4

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At this point, it was getting late, and both my opponent and I agreed that this would be the last turn– which was just as well, since neither of us had much else left on the field. With an abundance of faith points, and no other targets in range, the Retributors fired at the Razorback and plinked one wound off of it. In the movement phase, the last Immolator moved up to threaten the Tempestor and Captain, though I had completely forgotten to disembark the Battle Sisters still inside. Everything else at this point was staying put, was locked in combat, or was dead.

In the shooting phase, the Retributors and rightmost Exorcist combined their fire and did 4 more wounds to the Razorback, but it was still left hanging on 3. The Immolator tried to burninate the Tempestor Prime so that the leftmost Exorcist could have a shot at the Captain…only to discover that I was well out of range. Once again, in typical me fashion, I had forgotten to advance and shoot with the Immolator. Out of sheer spite, the leftmost Exorcist fired at the Tempestor, obliterating him and his impressive moustache in a volley of missiles.

Close combat was a short and sweet affair, with the Arco-Flagellants massacring both the last Tactical Marine and the last Death Company dude before consolidating upwards, the two Priests taking shelter behind the wall of chem-induced murder cyborgs.

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In the Blood Angels turn, the Razorback angled back a little to get full line of sight on my Arco-Flagellants, while the Captain flew up to confront my squad of psychos in what promised to be the title fight of the game. Everything else in the Blood Angel army stayed put.

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In the shooting phase, the Razorback, Rhino and Devastators all opened fire on my Arco-Flagellants. Despite being two wounds each, the Arcos’ meagre toughness of 3 and 5+ save showed just how vulnerable they were to shooting, as little by little they were whittled down. By the end of the shooting phase, the Arco-Flagellants were wiped out entirely, earning the Blood Angels another kill point and removing the only unit left that could have feasibly stopped that Captain.

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In close combat, the Captain charged the eviscerator-armed Priest (again, he might have used Descent of Angels to do so), prompting the maul-armed Priest to heroically intervene. In the last, epic close combat of the game, the first Priest revved up her eviscerator…and was mercilessly swatted aside by the Captain. In response, her fellow Priestess lunged, dealing three wounds with her power maul…and, anticlimactically, the Captain saved all three. Darn.

And with that, the game was over…

END GAME:
Sisters of Battle: 19
Blood Angels: 24
RESULT: BLOOD ANGEL VICTORY!

Thoughts: HAH! Unbeknownst to my opponent, my true objective this whole time was to kill his squad of Luna Wolves! With that done, the true heretics have been destroyed, the timeline has been corrected and victory is mine! Right? No? Okay…

Holy crap, though, what a game! It had been ages since my last large-scale game, and I had quite forgotten how destructive they could be. The amount of firepower we were trading back and forth and the sparse amount of terrain meant that a lots of units on both sides were dying fairly regularly. Despite my loss, it was a thrilling game, and I am rather amazed to see that, despite my blundering, I had managed to make the score so close at the end.

So, quick thoughts and lessons on that game:

-I wasted my Seraphim early on. I had some vague idea of using them to tie up the enemy flank and harass the enemy backfield; in retrospect, maybe I was remembering how I used them in prior editions, when they could either turn their saves invulnerable or have Celestine tank damage for them, and were a bit more durable.

-In general, I went into this game without any sort of plan, and it didn’t help that I had more or less forgotten about the Blood Angels’ rules and stratagems going into this battle (or blissfully forgot them after my opponent gave me a quick explanation before the game). As such, I was completely at a loss on how to deal with things like, say, the Blood Angels wounding my Knight on 4s, or Slamguinius pulling off his teleporting trick, or Devastators countering my Callidus so easily.

-The big 15-girl unit of Battle Sisters isn’t really that effective an anvil unit, as despite its large size, it will take casualties far too quickly. Even with their 3+ saves, they are still only toughness 3, and will still suffer heavy losses to dedicated firepower. Unsurprisingly, there was little left of the unit by the time the Death Company came steamrolling in. Even so, my tactic of using them as an anvil/bait worked (sort of), as it ended up drawing a lot of his units into Marine-munching range of my Arco-Flagellants.

-My Callidus Assassin was wasted going after the Devastators; had I remembered the Auspex Scan stratagem, I would have instead had her show up in a remote part of the battlefield and instead use her Reign of Confusion ability to force my opponent to spend more command points; given how many CPs his Captain was going through in the later stages of the game, I think this would have been a much wiser and much more effective use for her.

-The Knight was fantastic…until it wasn’t. I think after that first turn where the Knight’s firepower obliterated two units at once, I got overconfident with him and charged him headlong into the Sanguinary Guard death star. To be fair, the exploding Contemptor knocking the Knight into a damaged state probably was the main reason why he failed as much as he did, and if he had still been in his top damage tier, I feel he would have done a lot more damage thanks to hitting on 3s. My opponent suggested that in this game, I probably would have been better hanging back with the Knight and using his firepower to the fullest, and using a Knight Crusader build (gatling and battle cannon) instead. I don’t disagree, the extra firepower would have been nice, so maybe I should start getting some of the Knight’s other weapon arms assembled and painted. Regardless, the Knight was another classic example of me playing far too recklessly in this game– against Blood Angels, a more cautious play style is needed, I think.

-The Arco-Flagellants, as always, were amazing, and their timely counter-attack nearly swung the game around for me. My opponent admitted that he had charged his Tactical Squads into them to protect his Razorback, but in my opinion, all he did was exchange one kill point for two, especially since my Arcos gain rerolls to hit again when they are charged. Easily, they were my MVPs in this battle.

-My opponent’s army build has inspired me to consider an allied Astra Militarum detachment for my own army. Although his Guardsmen died in droves, their very presence gave my opponent yet more Command Points that he used to excellent effect (especially in the later stages of the game, when his Captain started going Super Saiyan).

-At present, I really have few counters to enemy stratagems, save to hope that they fail or to hope that my units can survive them. Hopefully, when Chapter Approved 2018 comes out, the Adepta Sororitas will have some updated stratagems of their own to help them compete.

Also, some rules mistakes I made in the game:

-For some reason, I had thought that the Knight’s ion shield applied in close combat as well as shooting. Thankfully, it didn’t matter too much at the end, as it got pulverized in close combat anyway.

Despite the loss, it was an incredibly fun game, and my opponent was equally fun to play against. I look forward to the rematch…or hopefully fighting alongside the Blood Angels, rather than being shredded by them, in a proper multi-player Apocalypse game…

Roboute Guilliman could only shake his head in disbelief.

It had only been half an hour since he had personally intervened with a combined force of Ultramarines and Custodes, descending from near orbit to put a stop to this madness after his repeated voxes to both sides fell on deaf ears. His very presence had been enough to put an end to the fighting, however, the warring Imperial factions settng down their weapons at the sight of the Emperor’s Son descending in full glory from the ramp of his Thunderhawk. In that instant, all involved seemed to have realized the terrible folly they had committed. By that time, though, the damage had already been done: the battlefield was strewn with smoking wrecks and the bodies of Astartes, Sororitas and Guardsmen alike. In the distance he could see a stricken Knight, slumped over as though slumbering, its head and cockpit section smashed open like an egg. 

So much senseless death and destruction, wrought between loyal Imperial servants…and for what? This could not have simply been caused by the gene-induced madness of the Storm Angels or the unrestrained zeal of the Order of the Blessed Damsel. No, there was something else at work here.

As he stared at the devastation, he heard the approach of Felix, his trusted equerry. “The survivors have been separated, my lord,” the Primaris Captain said with a curt bow. “They are each petitioning for your clemency, asking for chances at forgiveness and redemption. As for the signal we detected on the ship…we have traced it back to the original sender.”

Slowly, Guilliman turned away from the quiet scene of destruction to face Felix, nodding for his equerry to continue.

“It was as you suspected, my lord,” Felix went on. “The transmission was a genuine Inquisitorial order, transmitted to both sides with full data-encryptions, each ordering one group to attack or support the other. It was sent from orbit, and luckily we apprehended the sender before he could escape. As per your instructions, we have brought him here for you to question personally.”

At this, Felix stood aside, and two more Primaris Ultramarines strode up in his wake. Between them they held a thin, squirming figure, clad in a fine greatcoat and wearing an amulet fashioned in a stylized letter I around his neck.

Guilliman’s face darkened as he took a step towards the captive, recognizing the man from among the hundreds of Throne agents attached to the Crusade. He let his shadow fall across the squirming man as he allowed the sheer enormity of his size to become apparent to this mortal captive. “Inquisitor Krane,” the Primarch intoned. “As I recall, you were assigned to provide orbital surveillance and intelligence for the cleansing of Desolation Row.” He gestured outwards to the scene of devastation behind him. “I can see you provided much more than that. Would you care to explain all of this?”

Krane quivered. He was an Inquisitor, which by definition meant that he had a discipline and a willpower greater than that of most regular men,  but all of this melted in the face of the angry war-god that stood before him. “M-my lord, my actions were just!” Krane stammered. “The Storm Angels are heretics and madmen! They needed to be destroyed before they could endanger the crusade! I have proof!”

“If you had proof, then you would have brought it to me directly,” Guilliman growled, the very words shutting Krane up. “But instead, you ordered both the Storm Angels and the Sisters to attack one another. This is a slaughter of your own making, Krane, and it was done deliberately.” His right hand curled into a fist, lightning hissing around the Hand of Dominion. “One way or another, Krane, you will tell me the truth. Who are you working for? Who are your real masters…Inquisitor?”

For a few seconds, Krane seemed dumbfounded, his mouth gaping uselessly as he tried to answer the Lord Commander of the Imperium. Then, abruptly, his expression changed, his panic sliding into an icy calm and his wavering mouth stiffening into a satisfied half-smile. Whatever persona he had been adopting before had dropped like a mask sliding off.

“Your brother says hello, Roboute,” Krane said. “He has missed you. He wants to continue what the two of you began at Espandor.”

Guilliman stiffened in recognition of the name of that world. If his expression had been one of dark fury before, now it cooled into guarded, expressionless ice.  “My brother is dead,” he said slowly. “I killed him myself.”

At this, Krane’s smile seemed to widen a little. “Hydra Dominatus,” he said.

And with that, he suddenly shook violently and then slumped over in the grip of his Primaris guards. Guilliman’s enhanced ears heard Krane’s heart stifle and stop as whatever meme-induced kill command he had triggered took effect, snuffing his life out instantly.

Exhaling slowly, Roboute motioned for the Primaris to take the body away. Slowly, he turned back to the battlefield, only now seeing it for what it truly was. This had not been an accident, or a miscommunication, or even a battle in any sense of the word. No, this had been a message.

This was just the beginning…

Next Projects

With the new year looming ahead, I’ve found myself practically bursting with various hobby ideas and things I either want to get start or get into…and finding said ideas running up against things I’ve already started, or a limited budget. Here are some of the projects I’m considering getting into over the next year or so.

Thousand Sons

One of GW’s newer releases, the standalone Thousand Sons codex has caught my eye as of late. At first I was leery of it because of the emphasis it seems to place on Tzaangors over the actual Thousand Sons themselves, especially since all of its “new” units have actually been ported over from Age of Sigmar. But the more I look at the book, the more I find myself seriously considering collecting them as an army– while I see a lot of the new units as odd choices, at the same time they haven’t put me off. This isn’t helped by the fact that I’m currently reading the Horus Heresy book A Thousand Sons, or the fact that I always found a legion of sorcerous scholars, philosophers and librarians to be extremely cool. Furthermore, they serve the coolest Chaos god (don’t let those Khorne or Nurgle-worshipping fools tell you otherwise), have fantastic models, and in all honesty, given how they were wronged by the Imperium, I don’t see them as ‘bad guys’ to the same extent as the other Chaos legions.

The problem is, if I were to get into Thousand Sons now, it would be a case of bad timing. The Drukhari codex is coming, and with it will come plenty of playtime for my favourite spiky space pirates, which means I’ll have to seriously choose between taking them or the KSons out for games. Furthermore, if I do go for Thousand Sons, I would have to decide between their 30k and 40k versions– given the metas for both games, it will be difficult to collect a force that can do both, and this isn’t helped by the fact that 30k has gained serious momentum in my area. This is all, of course, to say nothing of how Thousand Sons might in turn lead to Daemons and/or Disciples of Tzeentch for AOS if I’m not careful.

I may end up putting Thousand Sons off in favour of updating my languishing Drukhari, but at the end of the day, I still feel the almost gravity-like pull of the Ninth Legion calling to me. I am making no commitments as of yet, but I can only resist the lure of heresy for so long…

Imperial allies?

(Illustration by DiegoGisbertLlorens at Deviantart)

A safer, and less costly option for me is the inclusion of new allies for my Adepta Sororitas army…and given how wide-ranging the armies of the Imperium are, the possibilities are endless. One of the most obvious candidates are Space Marines: I have an old, and somewhat neglected Crimson Fists force from when I first started Warhammer aeons ago, and it would be no big task to pull them out of their box, touch a few of them up, and field some of them to bolster my Sororitas (or vice versa, to field my Sisters in support of my boys in blue). Of course, if I do that, then I run a very real risk of temptation…namely of caving in to those nice new Primaris characters, or Hellblasters, or Aggressors, or aaaarghitsbeginningalreadystooopp….

Ahem. Alternatively, I could run Astra Militarum; a few cheap Infantry squads with some character backup would not only give my Sororitas a lot of cheap scoring units, but would also be an easy way to bulk up on command points (heck, I could easily run a brigade of pure IG infantry for less than 500 points). I also admit, I’ve been toying with this option because the current and forthcoming Necromunda models have given me the idea of a Penal Legion guard army, which would be incredibly fun to paint, convert and play.

Finally, there are certain Inquisitorial specialists I could add. At present, I have about 10 Grey Knight Terminators sitting unused in my cabinet, crying out to be painted. In addition to them, though, I’ve been toying with the idea of a squad of Deathwatch: just a simple kill team of 5-10 Veterans, all from a eclectic variety of chapters, led by a Terminator Captain or Librarian who can deep strike and then make use of their teleporting relic for extra cheesiness. I will admit, I’ve been kind of chomping at the bit to use Deathwatch ever since their codex came out in the tail end of 7th, since I’ve always felt they were one of the coolest “specialist” forces out there.

Of course, the big danger of any sort of ally force is that, if I’m not careful, it could turn into a new army in its own right– and thus the endless money pit that is miniature wargaming grows ever wider…

Age of Sigmar?

I still have abput 2500-3000 points of Lizardmen (based on old WHFB point values) from back when Warhammer Fantasy was a thing. I was one of the many who watched in perplexity a few years ago when Fantasy was brought to an apocalyptic end, and then morphed into Age of Sigmar. I did not jump on the Age of Sigmar bandwagon back then, and for the most part still have not now, but a few things have been steadily changing my mind:

  1. An active community– AOS has grown in my area (downtown Toronto and GTA) over the past few years, to the point where there is a very active player community.
  2. The rules have had time to evolve– according to the AOS players I’ve met, the rules have come a long way since their first inception, and are much better now thanks to the various iterations of the General’s Handbook.
  3. The AOS rules and 8th edition 40k rules are both rather similar, so I’ve already gotten an introduction of sorts through my main game.

I am sorely tempted to one day break my beloved lizards (or Seraphon, as they are called now for some reason) out of their long hibernation and resume upholding the ineffable will of the Old Ones, though if I do that, I will first need to familiarize myself with the AOS rules, and more importantly, with the Seraphon rulebook. Doing so will mean committing the time to doing so, though, and given how I’m lucky if I can get a game once a week due to my busy schedule, I’m not sure if that’s doable.

Infinity

I actually got into Infinity a few years ago because my girlfriend currently plays it. I have to admit, I rather liked the minis, and found the cyberpunk setting and the small scale a refreshing change from 40k (especially since the lower model count meant for a cheaper hobby). However, I have never been able to dive into it half as much as I was expecting: while I have started up on an Ariadna force (a faction of scrappy underdog colonists with modern-day technology in a future-tech setting) a few years ago, I have repeatedly had difficulty assembling many of the models– quite a lot of them have joins that are difficult to glue together, and some require a degree of pinning that seems beyond my modelling ability. At the moment, my Ariadnans have been on indefinite hiatus because (1) Toronto’s foremost Infinity group meets on a day that is rather difficult for me, and (2) whenever I turn back to Infinity, something 40k always grabs my attention instead. It has honestly gotten to the point where I wonder whether I should even persist with Infinity.

I hope to get a few more games of it in this year: then I may be able to make a more informed decision of whether to abstain while I’m ahead, or whether to dive headlong into a force of mechsuit-riding werewolf GI Joes.

X-Wing

X-Wing is another game that my girlfriend and I got the boxed set for, on the grounds that it is very easy to simply pick up and play: the models come pre-painted, there are terrain and markers readily available in the boxed set, and the game itself is quite small, with only anywhere between two and five ships per side, realistically. As of yet, we have yet to get a proper game in, but I can see keeping X-Wing as a nice casual side game for both of us to steadily expand. That being said, I doubt I would ever get into competitive play for X-Wing: aside from the fact that I already don’t participate in tournaments in 40k (more on that in a future post), what little I’ve seen of the X-Wing tournament meta speaks to a dizzying array of cards, gear and manoeuvres, and more than a few ships and combos that have roundly been decried as OP. At this stage, I feel somewhat unready to step into that…and beside which, I am reluctant to buy entire ships that I’m never going to use only because they come packaged with particularly competitive cards.

Fallout: Wasteland Warfare

I feel it needs to be said at this point that I am a big Fallout fan. Fallout 3 ranks as one of my favourite games of all time, and I absolutely love the grim humour and retro-future aesthetic of its post apocalyptic setting. It is for this reason that, ever since Modiphius announced they were doing a Fallout miniatures game (complete with beautifully rendered models), I have been awaiting this game eagerly.

Well, semi-eagerly. Before I dive into this game upon its release, I want to see, firstly, how popular it becomes in my area, and secondly, what the rules are like– both of which will dictate whether I get games in or enjoy said games. Modiphius’ premise of narrative campaigns, and of a settlement-building system akin to that in Fallout 4, intrigue me, but I want to see some games in action before I commit to it. Furthermore, while the models look amazing (those Brotherhood of Steel minis in particular demand to be painted), at the moment all of the factions appear to be from Fallout 4. This is not a bad thing, but I am hoping, further down the line, that Modiphius releases models for other factions from other Fallout games (the Enclave and the NCR, in particular).

Anyway, the year is still early, and I still have some time to decide what’s next (and beside which, I have other major life goals, like finding a new job and/or getting a place of my own at long last. Hopefully, when I have more space to dedicate to myself (and my manifold hobbies), I’ll be able to make a more informed decision…but regardless, I do intend to start something new this year. It is only a question of what.

Wishlisting: The Drukhari are Coming

(Artist unknown)

So, yesterday morning I woke up and checked the interwebz to see what was going on in the miniature world. What I got was a big bucket of announcements on Games Workshop’s official news feed…starting with an announcement of their next three codexes after Thousand Sons.

Games Workshop’s Announcements at the LVO

Now, I personally know a T’au player and a person who is enthusiastic about Necrons, so both will be very happy with this news. But me…I only care about the fact that the Dark Eldar are next.

Or…the Drukhari, sorry. I’m never going to get used to this name change.

Along with the Space Marines, the Drukhari were one of my very first armies from the 3rd edition 40k starter box, and I still have a lot of their original models (the ones for whom “spikes on everything at all times” was the dominant aesthetic). I always loved their background– cruel space pirates who would arrive from out of nowhere and drag you back to the twilight dimension they inhabit, to the point where people began associating them with ghosts and demons. In my mind they had a highborn suaveness to them struck a nice contrast with the other “evil” armies of 40k– they weren’t driven by some biological imperative like the Tyranids or raging fanaticism like the Chaos Space Marines, but simply by their own twisted, selfish nature. While a Chaos Lord would be yelling about blood and skulls, a Dark Eldar Archon would be sipping a nice wine while plotting the assassination of his rivals and telling Mr. Bond how he was going to die. They are evil, and they love it.

Being a Dark Eldar/Drukhari/ player has often been an experience of frustration or neglect, though: the Dark Eldar languished for more than ten years without a new model line or codex, while all of the armies around them enjoyed regular updates, model releases and support (especially if your army involved Space Marines in any fashion). Fast forward to the last eight odd years, however, where the Dark Eldar enjoyed a renaissance in 5th edition with an amazingly revamped model line, and a codex that was not only competitive, but was also fun– I fondly remember the plethora of wargear and options in that codex, as well as the long list of named characters, and the fun new Power from Pain rule that made the Dark Kin more deadly the more units they destroyed.

It was because the 5th ed codex was so enjoyable that I found the 7th ed one to be so lacklustre, with most of its more interesting rules streamlined, a lot of its competitive units nerfed, and almost all of its unique wargear and special characters removed. It became a dull, weak book, especially since it was released at the start of 7th ed, before broken things like formations (which DE didn’t have) really took off. To make matters worse, the shooting-centric nature of that edition meant that the DE’s frail assault units became little more than pricey cannon fodder. For fun games, it was a passable if mediocre book, but to do well in a competitive setting it was usable only when allied with more powerful battle brothers like the goody two-shoe Craftworlders, which to me seemed like a final slap in the face.

Now, in the grand experiment that is 8th edition, the Index list for the Drukari has done a lot to fix what was wrong with the 7th ed codex, in my opinion: previously uncompetitive units like Mandrakes are suddenly worth taking again; the Troops slot has been expanded once more to include Wyches and Wracks; and the Power from Pain rule has been not only streamlined, but also been made flat out better, with successive results making the Drukhari harder, better faster and stronger over successive turns. As for the combat drugs…I just enjoy being able to choose the result for each squad, and the fact that you can have a different drug result per squad, rather than having to roll once on a random table for the entire army.

That being said, the army still has the same fluffy weaknesses it always had: they are still a universally fragile force (with the exception of the Coven stuff) that needs to do heavy damage in order to avoid taking too many losses of their own– in all respects they are the quintessential “glass cannon” force of 40k. At the moment, however, like every other Index force, the Drukhari are being overshadowed by the established Codex armies, lacking as they do nice things like relics, stratagems, etc.

So, here’s what I’m hoping to see with the new Drukhari codex (and what I know they won’t do):

WHAT WE’RE BOUND TO GET:

Stratagems, relics and warlord traits (obviously)- I say “obviously” because it has been a staple of every recent codex to include a sizeable list of these, even when (or rather, especially when) there are no new models to go with the army release. At the moment, the Drukhari have one decent stratagem, one okay relic, and three warlord traits (two of which are good, one of which is merely okay) all courtesy of Chapter Approved 2017. I would like to see this list expanded, especially since stratagems are proving to be one of the competitive factors of 8th edition. For stratagems, I could see a return of the old “flyby” ability of the Reavers by letting them inflict mortal wounds if they move over an enemy unit, or a stratagem that lets you choose more than one combat drug result for a unit, or even something that lets your units jump up further on the Power from Pain table. For relics, I’ve noticed with some of the more recent codexes a trend of making terrible old relics useful, and so I anticipate this trend continuing for the Drukhari (Yes, even for the infamously bad Djinn Blade, which was a mediocre weapon that had a minor chance of killing its wielder outright).

As for warlord traits…well, all I can say is they can’t be much more underwhelming than their 7th ed incarnation. Moving on.

A Continuation of the Story- the last Dark Eldar codex teased at some interesting plot developments, hinting at a civil war in Commorragh that was about to erupt between Asdrubael Vect and Lady Malys, and a giant daemon-gate that was threatening to open and engulf the whole Dark City. The old Cult Mechanicus book, in turn, established that the Mechanicus had struck a devil’s pact with the Haemonculi to obtain their life-preserving technology, possibly in a desperate effort to keep the Golden Throne functioning. Unfortunately, from what I heard, while the Daemon invasion actually begins in the Fracture of Biel-Tan book, it is a glossed-over event, a minor detail set against the story of Yvraine. I want to see this explored a lot more in the next Drukhari book, to see what, if anything, has changed in the Dark City with the coming of the Great Rift.

WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE:

Updated rules, especially for some lackluster units- Although the Index is definitely a step above the old 7th ed codex in terms of playability and enjoyment, there are still units — Hellions and Taloi, I’m looking at you– that I would be reluctant to field without a Webway Portal stratagem, either because they are too fragile to make it into combat, or too ponderous and slow. Which sucks, because they have wonderful models and deserve to be tried out. Updated rules for these units would definitely be a good thing, in my opinion.

Speaking of which, Archons- As far back as even 3rd/4th ed, Archons were an absolute terror on the battlefield, their great statline, unique wargear and deadly weapons enabling them to go toe to toe with even monsters like Greater Daemons and Hive Tyrants and still come out on top. The same held true for their 5th ed incarnation, but in 7th ed…while they retained their shadow fields, they ended up losing soul traps and combat drugs, not to mention weapons that could reliably pierce the 2+ armour save you found on so many enemy characters. While they did gain access to blasters as a unique ranged option, they nonetheless found themselves being woefully outclassed by Space Marine Captains, Wolf Lords and Warbosses, whereas before they had been reliably able to take on and beat these characters. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the Archon was considered to be so overcosted, that a lot of competetive Dark Elder players skipped him/her outright and used a cheap Lhamaean as their HQ choice instead.

Right now, in their Index incarnation, they have less of an issue with armour, but they are still lacklustre in the fight phase. With their only weapons at the moment being the agonizer (which always wounds on 4s, but has mediocre AP and is only damage 1) the huskblade (which has decent AP and does d3 wounds, but relies on the Archon’s crappy strength of 3) and regular power weapons, the Archon is mediocre in the fight phase and seems better suited to ranged combat– something that seems contradictory, given how often in fluff Archons relish humbling their foes in close combat. The free shadowfield is nice, at least, until it’s hit by something that does mortal wounds.

Here’s hoping that in the next book Dark Eldar leaders (not just Archons, but hopefully Succubi and Haemonculi as well) get access to a wider range of weapon options, including relics. Really, I just want my army’s leader to feel like the all powerful villain he/she should be, and not like some pointy eared twit who gets steamrolled by the next Space Marine Captain they meet.

And on that note: Wyches- as much as I think Wyches are improved by the new combat drug rules and by the bubble effect of the Succubus, they still have one major weakness: overwatch. In 6th and 7th ed, Wyches almost never saw action precisely because they would die like ants when charging anything even remotely shooty– which sucks, because I have often seen them depicted in fluff as dancing through enemy fire as they charge. A simple solution would be to give them a permanent invulnerable save as opposed to a close combat-only one, or even a reduced invulnerable save against shooting. Really, if GW wants people to play Wych Cults, then they need to fix Wyches first.

WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE, BUT ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN:

New plastic kits- Incubi, Grotesques, Mandrakes and Beast Packs could all use plastic kits. Just saying. Given that there is the faint rumour that Kabals, Wych Cults and Haemonculous Covens will all be getting their own special rules, more plastic kits would only make sense to me. Unfortunately, GW seems to be of the mindset of wanting to avoid making new minis for existing armies if they can help it (other than for Space Marines, obviously), so I doubt this will happen.

Bring back ye old special characters, darnit- As I mentioned previously, the old 5th edition Dark Eldar codex had a plethora of named characters, from the Hellion Baron Sathonyx, to David Bow– er, Duke Sliscus, a charmingly mad space pirate, and above all else, the big bad of the Dark Eldar, Asdrubael Vect– the Machiavellian genius running the Dark City. While some of these characters were, obviously, more powerful or useful than others, they all served to add to the flavour and fun factor of that codex.

Fast forward to 7th ed, however, and almost all of those characters were removed, save for Lelith Hesperax, Urien Rakarth and Drazhar– in other words, the only characters that GW bothered making models for. While Dark Eldar weren’t the only victims of this shortsighted policy (Grey Knight and Imperial Guard characters without models were similarly axed), what made this infuriating was that Asdrubael Vect (and to a lesser extent, Lady Malys) still featured heavily in the background of the book, despite having neither models nor rules!

I am hoping that in the next codex, GW sees sense and makes models and rules for these fun old characters (or at the very least, for Vect). Unfortunately, given GW’s seeming reluctance to make new characters for existing armies, I doubt this will happen, and these characters will remain unusable in game.

That’s what I’d like to see at least. Please feel free to comment on what you want, or expect, from the new book.

WIP: Arco-Flagellants

Just I’d share a WIP unit from my 40k Sisters of Battle army– a humble (albeit crazed) unit of Arco-Flagellants.

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For their bodies, I used Empire Flagellants. I was tempted at first to use Undead Ghouls as a basis instead, given that their hunched appearanance makes them look like they are in mid-run, and their crouch also would make it easier to insert tubes, wires etc into their backs to make them look horribly augmented. In the end, however, I went with the Flagellants, as they have a ragged, demented look to them that, while less frightening, certainly gives off the impression of religious mania. Although Arco-Flagellants, in fluff, are prisoners and heretics who have been forcibly converted into crazed battle-cyborgs, I kind of like the idea of them being zealots who have willingly undergone this procedure instead. To me, it makes them that much more horrifying.

The buzzsaws, etc, are Kromlech Mechanical CCW arms, though given the small number of said arms in a blister pack, I’ve also been making use of the flails and whips in the Flagellants box as well, in some instances attaching them to the Arcos by the wrist. For heads, wherever possible, I’ve been sticking to Flagellant with metal bands covering their eyes, again to simulate the effect of modification. Sadly, there are only a few “covered” heads in the sprue, and I want the rest of the squad to be similarly covered– after all, in the background, all Arco-Flagellants have been affixed with pacifier helms that keep them docile until their combat drugs are triggered.

I’ll be making more progress posts of these guys (as well as of other projects I’m working on) as I work on them.

Batrep #1- Adepta Sororitas vs Orks- The Saint and the Idol

(Image above by Yang Zheyy at https://www.artstation.com/zheyang)

 

“…from the perfidy of the alien, o Emperor, deliver me; from the wickedness of heresy, o Emperor, deliver me…”

By Confessor Mattias Elastor’s count, he had voiced the Benediction of St. Cyrus twenty-two times in the last hour alone, and the Hymnal of St. Thor at Gathalamor another fifty-three. He couldn’t remember when he had last slept, or for that matter, when he had last eaten anything—his fear had been overriding his hunger, and at some point it had turned into just a general, bone-hollow weariness. It was that, and the shrapnel that had lacerated his left leg, which had eventually forced him to stop moving and take shelter in the half-exposed second storey of this ruined Administratum office.

He clutched his rosarius all the more tightly, even though its power field had long since gone out. His once fine priestly robes were now nothing more than tattered, soot-darkened rags, and his beard was a scraggly mess. Propping himself up against a ruined desk, he took another glance up at the sky, smothered grey by the smoke of distant battlefields. Somewhere in the distance, he could hear the rumble of thunder. He wouldn’t be out here, he knew, if the Ork warplanes hadn’t intercepted the convoy that had been conveying him to the supposed safety of the capital city. It was only by a miracle that he had survived the destruction of the Chimera he’d been on when that Ork missile had struck it.

Upon reflection, it had to have been a miracle: clearly, it was only by the God-Emperor’s intervention that he yet still lived. It was through the God-Emperor’s protection that Mattias would live through this yet. At least, that is what he kept telling himself. As it was, lately he had been beginning to lapse in and out of consciousness. Blood poisoning, maybe, or hunger, or possibly both. He could no longer tell how long he’d been here.

He was about to take another sip from a canteen he’d taken off of one of the dead Guardsmen when an electronic snarl made him jump. It took him a few seconds to realize that it was the vox-unit lying on the nearby table. He had been trying to get a bloody signal out all throughout this ordeal: now, all of a sudden, he was receiving one.

“Convoy Theta, come in!” a female voice spoke from the other end. “Convoy Theta, if any of you are still alive, do you read?”

Hurriedly, Mattias snatched up the vox unit, almost dropping the damned thing as he fumbled with its activation stud. “I’m here!” he exclaimed, almost surprised at how hoarse his voice sounded. “It’s me! By the Emperor’s grace, I’m alive!”

There was a short silence on the other end before the voice spoke again. “Confessor Elastor, is that you? Please confirm.”

He nodded hurriedly, despite the fact that this woman obviously could not see the motion. He felt exhilarated just to be talking to someone. “Yes! I’m alive! E-everyone else died in the attack, but…I survived!” He tried to jump back up to his feet, only for the raw pain of his leg to cause a whine of animal pain to escape his lips. “Nnnnh…but…I’m also injured. Yes.  I…I don’t think I can move any more.”

In the distance, the thunder grew louder. Elastor could almost feel it in his bones. A storm was brewing.

“Acknowledged, Confessor,” said the voice. “Keep your current position: a rescue force is on its way. Be advised, though, there is a sizeable enemy force moving towards your position.”

Mattias’ heart skipped a beat. “What?” He clutched the vox unit even more firmly. “Then we have no time to lose! We have to get to the capital!”

There was a tremendous thunderclap in the distance—one so massive it felt like it shook the ground.

There was a silence on the other end. “Confessor…the capital hive fell two days ago. And if I’m reading the signal right…you’re in enemy-captured territory.”

Slowly, the vox clattered from Matthias’ shaking hand. Again, he heard the thunder-clap—a tremendous, ear-splitting tremor that sent vibrations rattling through him. Next to him, the canteen he’d placed back on the table clattered to the floor with a metallic thud. Slowly, and wordlessly, he pulled himself up to the edge of a ruined window and peaked over it.

In the distance, past the edges of the ruined hab-complex, came a tide of bodies, hunched and muscular, with skin the colour of rotting leaves. Above them loomed a tremendous shape—vast and squat, with a gigantic saw on one arm, a fearsome multi-barrelled cannon in the other, and a lense-eyed head fashioned in mockery of a tusked Greenskin face. A walking mountain of metal plates was stomping its way towards him, crushing everything in its path.

Quietly, Mattias began to mouth the Benediction of St. Cyrus for a twenty-third time….

 

 

Welcome to my inaugural 40k battle report for this blog! Not too long ago I played my second ever game of 8th edition. I was (and to a degree still am) fresh with the rules, and I went into this game anticipating that I was going to make plenty of learning mistake. (Chances are, eagle-eyed readers will still spot more than a few rules errors that even I missed). I decided to give my Adepta Sororitas their second 8th Ed outing, and when I got to Sword and Board, arranged a game one of my LGS, and found myself in a game against Orks—an army that I had fought against maybe once in the past couple of editions.

 

I brought the following:

ADEPTUS MINISTORUM BATTALION DETACHMENT

Saint Celestine- 2 Geminae Superiae- 250

Canoness- bolt pistol, power sword- 49

5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer- 66

-Immolator- Immolation flamer- 103

5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer- 66

-Immolator- Immolation flamer- 103

5 Battle Sisters- storm bolter, heavy flamer- 66

-Immolator- Immolation flamer- 103

9 Arco Flagellants- 135

-Rhino- 75

Ministorum Priest- eviscerator- 57

Imagifer- 40

Callidus Assassin- 80

5 Dominions- 4 meltaguns- 114

-Rhino- 75

5 Dominions- 4 meltaguns- 114

-Rhino- 75

6 Retributors- 4 heavy bolters- 94

Exorcist- 160

Exorcist- 160

Back in 7th, this would be a more or less standard army build for me, minus the Retributors, Assassin and Arco-Flagellants. This army was really limited by my collection as well—as much as I wanted to field Repressors instead of Rhinos for the Dominions, I still hadn’t had any converted at this time. Beyond that, there were a few units that I was trying out for the first time, such as the Arco-Flagellants, and I tried to keep everything WSYIWG where possible, with the exception of some of my flamers masquerading as storm bolters. In hindsight, converting all of my storm bolters into (crappy-looking) meltaguns back in 7th was a poor decision.

 

 

My opponent, meanwhile, brought the following:

ORK BATTALION DETACHMENT

Big Mek- kustom force field

Big Mek- kustom force field

20 Boyz- sluggas and choppas, Nob w. power klaw

20 Boyz- sluggas and choppas, Nob w. power klaw

20 Boyz- shootas, Nob w. power klaw

Nob w. Waaagh Banner

Painboy- power klaw

Painboy- power klaw

Battlewagon- 4 big shootas, deffrolla

SUPER-HEAVY AUXILIARY DETACHMENT

Stompa

 

I almost immediately jumped when I saw the Stompa. I had not experienced dealing with one outside of a single Apocalypse game back in 5th ed, and had only generally dealt with a super-heavy in a regularly-sized game once before (wherein I was lucky enough to melta a Knight to death in one turn). Given my lack of knowledge of Orks, I had no idea of what to expect of the Stompa, save that it probably had a lot of dakka and would probably be able to destroy my entire army on its own if left unchecked.

 

SCENARIO:

For the scenario, we rolled Dawn of War and The Relic, and I for the role of the relic I provided the Uriah Jacobus model. I figured that Uriah had been stranded (or possibly wandered drunkenly) into no man’s land, and both sides were trying to retrieve him.

 

DEPLOYMENT:

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I set up with as many of my transports behind cover as possible, hoping to avoid the worst of the Stompa’s fire on turn 1. I concentrated most of my units on the right flank (a dumb move, in retrospect, as I should have tried avoiding and isolating the Stompa instead). The Callidus Assassin was kept in reserve, in the hopes that she could appear and kill an isolated character or two later in the game.

 

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The Orks, meanwhile, spread bodies all across the table in proper horde fashion. The Nob and both Painboyz lurked behind the central-most mob of Slugga Boyz, the Battlewagon went on the far flank, and a Big Mek went into each of the vehicles to give them some force field goodness.

 

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For Warlord traits, I gave Celestine +1 attack, and my opponent did the same for the Nob, his own Warlord (he at first mistakenly thought that the Stompa could be his warlord, until realizing that it was not a character).

I rolled to seize the initiative…and got it! And with that, the Sisters of Battle went first.

 

 

SISTERS TURN 1

With the initiative now mine, my Order sprang into action. Rolling for my faith, I got a 1. Deciding that I really wanted to test out Acts of Faith in this game, I used a Command Point to reroll…and got another 1. My Imagifier, similarly, failed to net me a faith point. At this point, I figured it was going to be one of THOSE games.

Starting things off, I shuffled my Exorcists to get line of sight on the Stompa. I also tried to move the Retributors on top of the nearby building, but stopped when I realized that they didn’t have enough movement to make it to the top. A free move from a Faith point would have been REALLY helpful for that. On the left flank, my Dominions moved up towards the centre of the table in a rapid redeployment towards the right. I figured that the lone Battlewagon wasn’t too big a threat, and I really needed to get as many meltaguns as I could in range of the Stompa. The leftmost Immolator similarly hid behind the building, ready to move toward either flank as needed. On my right flank, however, there was a general advance, with two Immolators gunning towards the enemy with Celestine following just behind. The Dominions’ Rhino, similarly, moved up, just within rapid fire range of the Ork mob.

 

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My general plan, at this point, was to lure the Orks into a charge. Hopefully, my transports would survive, and/or my Sisters would be able to disembark from their wrecks in good enough order to unleash short-ranged shoooting in reply. Celestine (and if necessary, the Flagellants) gave me decent counter-attack options. If the Stompa came this way, of course, all the better– my Dominions’ meltaguns would be in range to do major damage.

In the shooting phase, I unloaded with my Immolators on the right flank…and found that I was narrowly out of range. I had greatly overestimated the range of my Immolators’ fancy flamers. It was only after the battle that I realized that I could have advanced with them in the movement phase to ensure that they were in range. The Rhino, at least, rapid fired its storm bolter and plinked off two Orks. The Exorcists combined their fire and managed to deal 5 or 6 wounds to the Stompa (honestly, it became impossible for me to keep track after a while), and the Retributors opened up and mowed down 5 of the central Ork mob. Even after having moved, I found that my heavy support units were still hitting fairly accurately thanks to my Canoness’ reroll 1’s bubble.

 

 

ORKS TURN 1

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In the Ork turn, the Greenies responded as I anticipated…mostly. All across the board, the Ork mobs moved up, with the centre and rightmost mobs advancing as well while the Battlewagon did the same. What took me by surprise, though, was when the Stompa moved and ended up mere inches away from my Immolators. I had had no idea that the Stompa had a movement of 12. Where I had originally hoped I would have a turn or two to deal with the big ugly, it was now right in front of my advancing Sisters.

 

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In the shooting phase, I was given a none-too subtle reminder about assault weapons and advancing as the entire Ork line opened fire. The leftmost shoota Boyz managed to 1 wound to an Immolator, while the Battlewagon unloaded its big shootas on the Dominion Rhino and did 2. On the right flank, the Slugga Boyz fired their pistols inneffectially at the other Rhino. And then the moment I was dreading began as the Stompa opened fire…

…and to my surprise, didn’t do that much. Despite unleashing a storm of fire with gigashootas, rokkits, skorchas, deffkannons and a whole bunch of other Orky ordnance (Orknance?), I got off lightly, with 5 wounds done to the rightmost Rhino and no damage done to any of my other vehicles. The -1 to hit imposed by the Immolators’ smoke launchers really helped in this instance.

To cap things off, the Big Mek riding the Stompa proceeded to heal one or two wounds off the the big ugly. It would be doing so consistently throughout the game, making the Stompa just that much more of a headache.

Before I could breathe a sigh of relief, however, the Orks charged. The rightmost mob charged my Rhino…and to my horror, rolled high enough on their charge move to completely surround it. This meant that not only could the Rhino not break away from combat, but also that my Dominions and their precious meltaguns would be trapped and destroyed along with their transport. The Stompa, similarly, dual-charged both of my Immolators, though it took a few wounds from overwatch in the process.

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In the ensuing close combat phase, the Stompa effortlessly wrecked one Immolator, forcing me to spend a command point to avoid an explosion, though two of the girls inside were killed. The Ork Boyz, on the other hand, by some miracle only inflicted 3 wounds, leaving the Rhino clinging to life, albeit no less doomed.

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SISTERS TURN 2

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With the Stompa now practically breathing in my girls’ faces, I needed to deal with it, and fast. As my mind frantically raced for a plan, I initiated my faith powers; Celestine and her Geminae moved over on top of the building, giving them options to go after either the Stompa or the central mob. The Retributors, meanwhile, got to shoot out of sequence, mowing down another four of the central mob despite their nearby Painboy. (In retrospect, I should have given them an extra move to advance up on top of their adjacent building, but oh well). Finally, the recently de-Rhinoed Sisters used their Faith move to move away from the Stompa…for…some reason I can no longer remember.

In the movement phase proper, the Arco-Flagellants and their attendant Priest disembarked to go say hi to the central mob, while their Rhino swung around to support the right flank. The idea at this point was to buzzsaw through the centre with them, then turn them around to deal with the other Boyz and take the relic. The other unit of Dominions and leftmost Immolator moved further up to the centre, while on the right flank, the surviving Immolator disengaged with the Stompa, its passengers content to stay inside for now.

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Finally, realizing that I had nothing else that could hold the big guy up, I sent Celestine and the Geminae around towards the Stompa’s rear, ready to buy time with their (constantly respawning) lives.

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(Pardon the boring, unpainted and unfinished Arco-Flagellants in the background)

Oh yes, and being the dummy I am, I forgot to reveal the Callidus Assassin this turn. Moving on.

In the shooting phase, everything I had unloaded on the Stompa, Exorcists, Retributors, my lone Immolator that could shoot and even Celestine all firing up into the metal behemoth. I can’t remember exactly, but I think I did something in the range of ten to fifteen wounds to the big lug. Both my opponent and I were fairly impressed by the damage output of the Exorcists.

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Then came the big moment as I declared my charges. In the centre, the Priest charged into the central Boyz mob first, surviving overwatch unscathed before her pet murder-cyborgs followed after her. The Arco-Flagellants proceeded to unleash 52 rerollable strength 5 attacks into the Greenskins and ground them into a fine green paste, much to my opponent’s shock. From this point on, I have resolved to call my Flagellants “the Lawnmowers,” because they cut the grass so well. (Get it? Grass? Because Orks are vegetable based and…never mind)

Victorious, the Arco-Flagellants consolidated into the the Painboy and Banner Nob who had been lurking behind the Boyz. This, however, turned out to be a bad move, as the aforementioned characters, now that they were engaged, proceeded to smash down three Flagellants, with a fourth spontaneously combusting in the Morale phase. Hmm, that could have gone better.

20171008_160612

 

In the centre, Celestine and her Geminae charged fearlessly into the Stompa, and, despite all the firepower it unleashed in overwatch, somehow made it into combat unscathed. Unsheathing her Ardent Blade, Celestine proceeded to hack four wounds off of the Stompa. Incensed, the Stompa swung wildly with its giant killsaw, hacking down both Geminae and leaving Celestine to face the Orks’ blasphemous idol on her own.

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(Note, by the way, that both my opponent and I forgot that the Stompa CANNOT be locked in combat, as its rules allow it to move, shoot and charge normally after leaving combat. We would only remember this rule after the game.)

Finally, the Orks surrounding my Rhino laid into it with their choppas…and failed to do any damage whatsoever. Laughing that he would show his Boyz how it was done, their Nob revved up his power klaw…and missed with every single one of his attacks. The Rhino, for its part, failed to run down any Orks. Somehow, my Dominions were still alive, but they were still unable to escape with their vehicle surrounded, and so were still quite doomed. At this point I was really beginning to miss the old tank shock rules.

 

ORKS TURN 2

With only a few units unengaged in close combat, the Orky movement phase was short, but significant. Climbing the central building, Shoota Boyz advanced up and narrowly managed to grab the relic/preacher. The Battlewagon, meanwhile, circled around my flank to continue making a nuisance of itself.

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In the shooting phase, the barrage of shootas and big shootas once again rang out, only to ping harmlessly off of my vehicles’ armour. The Slugga Boyz fired into combat against my Rhino, and similarly failed to do anything.

In close combat, though, things took a different turn, as the second Painboy charged in to join the big scrum against the Arco-Flagellants in the centre, and proceeded to crush two of my murder-cyborgs with his power klaw. In the rest of that ensuing melee, the Arco-Flagellants did a wound to one of the Painboys, while my Priest hefted her eviscerator and hacked the newly-arrived Painboy into bloody bits, only to be crushed in return by the other one. Finally, the Nob swung his (surpisingly deadly) Waaagh! Banner again, and managed to smash down another two Arco-Flagellants. Only one of the cyber-lunatics remained…and by some miracle, he passed leadership and remained in combat with the last Painboy. Woot!

Elsewhere, the Slugga Boyz once again hacked into the Rhino, only for their choppas to bounce off ineffectually. For a moment I thought the vehicle was going to survive another round, until the Nob remembered how to turn on his power klaw, and smashed off the Rhino’s last few wounds, destroying it and killing all of the Dominions inside. Despite my hopes to the contrary, the Rhino did not explode in the Orks’ faces.

 

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Finally, in the big title fight in the centre, Celestine swung at the Stompa, but this time failed to do any damage to the big lug. The Stompa then swung wildly with its oversized choppa…and when all was said and done, had done 5 wounds to the Living Saint. Despite everything, Celestine was still standing and still fighting against the giant mechanical Ork idol…although I had been hoping that the Stompa would kill her this round, both so that she could resurrect out of combat and go contest the objective, and so that I could shoot the Stompa some more.  Alas.

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SISTERS TURN 3

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At this point, the Orks were on the relic, and, more fool I, I had nothing that could go claim it in time (for some reason I did not think to disembark any of my squads to go contest it, although I still would have needed a fairly hefty advance roll to get onto the roof of that building). In the Faith phase, I had the Retributors climb halfway up the building in front of them to get better line of sight, while Celestine healed a wound. In the movement phase proper, meanwhile, I disembarked a squad of Sisters on the right flank, and, together with the survivors of the other squad and my assembled transports, moved to confront the Orks that had just killed the Rhino. The Dominions, meanwhile, disembarked and moved up, seeing that the Nob was standing out in the open now (I’m not sure if we played this right, by the way. Should the Nob not have been able to consolidate back into the ongoing melee with the last Arco-Flagellant?)

In the backfield, my Callidus finally remembered to show up, and popped up near the ongoing melee. Oh yes, and a Geminae came back to life, giving me the opportunity to hold the Stompa up even longer.

In the shooting phase, the Retributors and Exorcists fired into the Ork Boyz holding the relic, killing some 8 or 9 of them with extremely good rolling. In the centre, the Callidus fired her neural shredder at the Nob, popping a wound off of him and giving him a migrain, before the Dominions levelled their meltaguns and turned him into a molten green puddle.

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Finally, on the right flank, Battle Sisters, an Immolator and a Rhino all fired into the Ork Boyz, flaming and boltering down and impressive 13 of them. Oh Immolation flamers, how I love ye.

In close combat, the last Arco-Flagellant (who I dubbed One Armed Larry, on account of some mid-battle breakage) decided to give the Painboy a dose of his own bad medicine, unleashing a crapload of attacks and reducing him down to one wound. Stunned at this display of unsanctioned surgery, the Painboy whiffed his return attacks. Go One Armed Larry!

Finally, in the ongoing title fight, Celestine once again flubbed her attacks. In reply, because wounds had already been allocated to her, all of the Stompa’s return attacks went onto her instead of onto the Geminae. I was forced to roll my saves one at a time. Naturally, I failed the first one, and Celestine instantly went squish… and then, as per her special rules, spontaneously resurrected again next to her faithful Geminae…who then took a giant chainsaw to the everything and died. Nonetheless, Celestine then saved all of the remaining wounds, and the combat continued to drag on. My opponent at this point was quite bewildered at just how seemingly impossible to kill Celestine was.

 

ORKS TURN 3

By this point, the Orks were starting to run out of models, and so started to focus on winning the game. The Shoota Boyz grabbed the objective and withdrew, hoping to escape with the preacher. The remnants of the Slugga Mob moved after the Sisters that had so injured them, and the Battlewagon angled around again to be annoying. Everything else at this point was either dead or in close combat.

 

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In the shooting phase, everything either missed or bounced off of armour, and then we went straight to combat. The last of the Slugga Boyz charged the three-girl Sisters squad, losing two to overwatch from their heavy flamer. Even so, they made it in, and the last three Boyz were more than enough to hack the last three Sisters to power-armoured ribbons, before consolidating into the other Battle Squad and nearby Immolator and Rhino.

In the backfield fight, One Army Larry once again went first, but this time inflicted only two wounds. My opponent held his breath as he made one T-shirt save…and then rolled a 6 for Dok’s Tools! The Painboy remained standing, and then swung back, inflicting two unsaved wounds and crushing the last Arco-Flagellant to pulp. And thus endeth the tale of One-Armed Larry, Hero of the Ecclesiarchy.

Finally, in the big ongoing fight, the Stompa went first. This time, Celestine’s luck finally ran out: after failing a bunch of invulnerable saves, the Living Saint was finally crushed, dying for one final time. Given how long she had held up that Stompa, however, I wasn’t too displeased.

 

 

SISTERS TURN 4

By this point, I realized that I had foolishly let the Orks grab the objective right from in front of me. With my faith points, I immediately the engaged Sisters swing in close combat, killing an Ork.  I then zoomed my leftmost Immolator (and the Sisters therein) across the flank to hopefully intercept and burninate the shootas, while my Exorcists angled to try to get line of sight to the blocking Battlewagon. My Callidus, meanwhile, went after the Painboy, and the Dominions, finally in sight of their big target, moved to engage the Stompa.

In the shooting phase, the Dominions (who I realize should have fired with Faith) shot at the Stompa…and after some abysmal rolling on my part, only did 3 wounds to it. The Callidus tried to mortally wound it with her neural shredder, but discovered that Stompas have a really high LD value. My rightmost Exorcist, at least, managed to plink a few more wounds off of it, while my Immolator, Retributors and other Exorcist all did something like 5 or 6 wounds to the Battlewagon. Not bad, but not great, either.

In close combat, the Callidus Assassin charged the Painboy, and proceeded to poisoned blade the last wound off of him. Without breaking stride, the Callidus consolidated after the retreating Shoota Boyz. As unlikely as it seemed, my sole chance of winning the game now seemed to rest on this one Assassin.

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Elsewhere, the combat on the right flank ground on, with the Orks killing a Battle Sister, the Battle Sisters killing the last Boy, and the Rhino (or the Immolator, one of the two) running over the Nob a little and wounding him.

 

 

ORKS TURN 4

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In the Orky turn, the Shoota Boyz continued to fall back, while the Stompa turned towards the meltaguns that had so irritated it last turn. In the shooting phase, the Battlewagon managed to do a wound to the nearest Immolator with its big shootas. The Shoota Boyz meanwhile unloaded everything they had on the Callidus, and managed to plink a wound off of her. The Stompa finally got to shoot again, and did so…unimpressivley. Its super-gatler mostly just pinged off the nearby Dominion Rhino, and its rokkits made excited whooshing noises and little else.

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Its skorcha, however, unloaded into the Callidus, managed to do 4 wounds to her…and I proceeded to botch every single save. My Callidus was instantly reduced to a blackened heap, and my chances of retrieving the relic suddenly became much less likely.

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In close combat, however, things got even worse. The Battlewagon charged the Immolator, taking a wound from overwatch, but still maging it in; it proceeded to demonstrate the power of its deffrolla by grinding two wounds off of the Immolator. More importantly, though, it had just denied my Immolator its ability to burninate Orks next turn.

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In the centre, meanwhile, the Stompa multi-charged both the Dominions and their Rhino (somehow, in overwatch, the Dominions managed to miss the building-sized Ork walker coming right at them). The Stompa proceeded to crush and pulverize four of my five Dominons…but then, much to my surprise, the Rhino managed to wound it in return! Somehow, my last Dominion then passed her leadership test, keeping the big guy locked in combat. Well, that was…unexpected.

Finally, on the right flank, the Nob swung and crushed another Battle Sister, before the Rhino hit, wounded, and ran him over. All of my engaged units consolidated up the right flank, but this was ultimately a small victory in a losing battle.

 

 

SISTERS TURN 5

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Everything was getting desperate at this point: the Orks were getting away with the relic, and there was little I could do save kick myself for having let them get it in the first place. In the Faith phase, the Dominions regrew a Sister, but beyond that, everything I would have liked to shoot at was embroiled in close combat. In the movement phase, though, my Sisters re-embarked in their Rhino and zoomed up the right flank. My last hope, at this point, was a long flanking manouever around the Stompa to hopefully get at the retreating Shoota Boyz. To this end, I kept my Dominions and Rhino locked in combat with the metal behemoth, resolving to tie it up for as long as possible. This time, I remembered to advance with both tanks. My Immolator engaged with the Battlewagon, however, had no such resolutions, and left combat to try to skirt around after the Shoota Boyz again.

In the shooting phase, I recognized the problem that the Battlewagon posed, and so fired everything I could into it.  Both Exorcists and the Retributors fired into it, and managed to reduce it to five wounds or so. Despite my best efforts, though, the damnable thing was still up and running.

 

In close combat, the Stompa, predictably, stomped the last two Dominions, before wailing on the Rhino with its oversized chainsword. By some miracle, however, the Rhino survived on two wounds, and continued to hold the Stompa up.

 

 

ORKS TURN 5

The Ork movement phase was short and simple: the Shoota Boyz continued to retreat to their board edge, and the Battlewagon wheeled around to have annuva go at the Immolator.

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With nothing to shoot, the close combat phase was short and brutal. The Battlewagon once again charged the Immolator, and once again, its deffrolla did its grisly work, reducing the Immolator to a handful of wounds. In an encore, the Stompa crushed the Rhino (to my chagrin, it did not explode), and then consolidated…

…right into the surviving Immolator that had been trying to sneak past it! Argh! I had fatally forgotten about that three inch consolidation move, and now another of my vehicles—and my chances of winning this game—were about to be gone.

 

The game, at this point, seemed to decide that I had had enough. The random game length came up as a 1, and the game ended in a decidedly Orky victory.

 

VICTORY TO THE ORKS!

 

 

THOUGHTS:

Well, it was a loss, but given that it was only my second ever game of 8th edition, I’m going to cut myself some slack. Looking back, I can narrow down three main reasons why I lost this one:

  1. I forgot about a lot of the new rules. In particular, I forgot that enemies can now consolidate into combat, that I can advance and fire with assault weapons (and that this rule extends to vehicles as well), and that casualties are no longer removed closest to closest– a fact that also came into play when I was firing everything I had at the Shoota Boyz to reduce their distance to the relic.
  2. I took my eyes off the prize: I made the classis blunder of getting so caught up in killing the enemy army that I neglected to go after the relic, or more importantly, to position a unit to be able to counter-attack any unit going after the relic. This ultimately cost me the game, and was a dumb mistake on my part. I had originally aimed to have the Arco-Flagellants clean up the Orks in the centre and then double back to deal with any Boyz taking the objective, but I had seriously under-estimated how tough Ork characters are (or alternatively, overestimated how tough Arco-Flagellants are)
  3. I was too reckless with my Dominions. I guess that in 7th, I was far too used to outflanking as opposed to scouting with my Dominions, and so I could never accurately judge how far was “too” far when moving up with scouting Doms. This cost me, as on the one hand, I wanted to position my Dominions to be a serious meltagun threat to the Stompa; on the other hand, I wanted to keep them out of potential charge distance of the Slugga Boyz. I ended up fatally miscalculating on both counts.

 

Still, I was happy to see that much of my army worked exactly as intended. My firebase of Retributors + Exorcists did a lot of damage each round (especially to the Stompa—my opponent revealed after the battle that I had done 25 wounds to the big thing), especially with the Canoness and Imagifier bolstering them. My Battle Sisters, once they worked in tandem, were able to do a lot of damage to the Ork Boyz, as did the Immolators (oh how I love those Immolation flamers). The Arco-Flagellants, even though they died to the last, were beautifully destructive. The Callidus was recurring headache throughout the game, constantly forcing my opponent to roll double command points or forfeit using them—her ability came into play so often in fact that I quickly felt dirty for using her. And Celestine, was, well, Celestine—easily the killiest and most durable thing in my army, and even though she was horribly outmatched against the Stompa, I am really impressed at how long she held up the big thing. The only letdown in my list was the Dominions, and that’s more because I feel like I misused them.

Ultimately, I’m going to cut myself some slack over this loss: it’s still my second game of 8th, and I’m still getting the hand of this game.  Ultimately, this game was good practice, and my opponent was fun to play against. I just need some more games, and maybe some changes to my list—as of writing this, I currently have Repressors and Penitent Engines in production….

 

Today had been a good day, Cogzog thought to himself as he hammered another rivet back in place. The horde had gotten into a good and proper scrap, and while a lot of the Boyz had been torched by the crazy armoured ‘Umie women, there were a lot more where they came from. What was far more important was that the Stompa, his beloved creation, had performed wonderfully in its first field test, crushing ‘Umie tanks and riddling scores of ‘Umie bodies with its godly amount of dakka. But most impressively of all, the Stompa had crushed that winged glowy ‘Umie—the one that all of the captured ‘Umie prisoners had called a “Living Saint” or something like that.

That had been no mere ‘Umie. Her eyes had blazed like those of a Weirdboy, she had a strange burny choppa that had cut through flesh and steel alike, and every time she or one of her girl-Nobz died, they would come back to life in a shining pillar of light. The ‘Umies had believed this glowy git to be blessed by their god, by their “Emperor,” and it had seemed invincible for a time, even cutting a lot of deep gouges in the Stompa itself. But nothing was invincible—nothing, that was, except the power of the Waaagh!

“Oi! Pass me a spanner!” Cogzog ellowed. A few seconds later, several of his Grot attendants came, carrying a large, rectangular lump of iron between them, straining under its weight. “Naw, not that, one of the bigga ones!” he growled, kicking several of the Grots away with an iron-shod boot. As the runts scampered away with a series of curses, Cogzog sighed and stepped back, taking a wider look at the hulking shape of the Stompa—and more importantly, of the many holes that had been blasted and scoured into its jagged hull.

They had hurt it. The very thought filled Cogzog with righteous anger. The ‘Umies had damaged his beautiful creation in that last battle. But what the pink-skinned weaklings failed to realize was that this was no war machine—it was a great and terrible idol, a walking avatar of Gork (or possibly Mork). And all the dakka in the universe  was nothing compared to the wrath of a god.

Cogzog’s features split into a hideous grin. Soon, the Stompa would be up and running again. With it, the Waaagh! would conquer this world, smash the ‘Umie cities, loot the ‘Umie factories, stomp the ‘Umie armies…and raze, burn and annihilate the ‘Umie churches. By the end of this war, the ‘Umies would realize that their fancy Emperor had nothing on Gork and Mork…that a dead ‘Umie on a fancy chair was nothing compared to real gods.

He heard a muffled voice from inside the Stompa. The bigshot ‘Umie priest was still in there, reciting his idiot prayers over and over again as he hung shackled inside the great belly of the Stompa. Just like all of the other ‘Umie priests Cogzog and his warband had captured– left to languish, rot and die in their new metal prison, as food for the idol of Gork and Mork. He always got a laugh over how these gits always expected their Emperor to save them, and their Emperor never did.

“Speak up, ‘Umie, I don’t fink ‘E can hear you!” Cogzog laughed, before scowling and turning back in the direction of his Grot assistants. “Now, WHERE’S DAT SPANNER?!”